Ohio suspends license of funeral home after 11 bodies found

Jun 2, 2015, 1:54 PM

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The state’s funeral directors board on Tuesday quickly suspended the license of a funeral home where 11 bodies intended for cremation were found, some in a state of decay in a damp garage, according to investigators.

The members of Ohio’s Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors said the funeral home’s director had treated 10 of the bodies in a way that would outrage reasonable family and community sensibilities.

The board, while suspending the license for both Tate Funeral Services in Toledo and its director, Robert Tate Jr., also said the funeral home held two of the bodies for more than two days without embalming or refrigeration.

Police helped the county coroner’s office remove the bodies of 10 adults and a premature infant from the funeral home Friday. Most of the bodies were stored in cremation boxes and body bags, and at least one had been there since January, officials said.

A statement from the funeral home said it provided embalming in accordance with state law. Its attorney said any delay in cremation resulted from physicians failing to provide death certificates in a timely manner.

The funeral home director can appeal the license suspension. A message seeking comment was left with his attorney.

Vanessa Niekamp, the board’s executive director, recommended the board issue violations regarding unprofessional conduct in handling 10 bodies and improper embalming of two of those bodies. Niekamp said there were no violations regarding the body of a person who died recently.

A state inspector said he went to funeral home last week after receiving a complaint from a relative who said the cremation of her uncle’s body was taking too long.

The inspector said he found several human remains in cremation containers and body bags inside a garage with a leaking roof and wet floor.

Marcie Barringer, of Toledo, said the body of her mother, Betty Green, was among those found at the funeral home. She said she called Tate several times over the past month asking when her mother would be cremated.

“He kept putting us off, putting us off,” Barringer said. “He deserves to spend some time in jail.”

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Ohio suspends license of funeral home after 11 bodies found