Authorities in Ohio have discovered the remains of 89 people in an empty church in Akron while investigating a case about a man running a fraudulent funeral service business. The boxes containing the remains were originally discovered by “urban explorers” who noticed the church’s doors were open despite the premises not being in use, NBC News reports.
- Some of the boxes had remains that were more than a decade old. According to a search warrant affidavit, some of the boxes containing remains dated all the way back to 2010. WKYC of Akron later reported that children’s remains were among those discovered. The remains were later seized by the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
- The church is connected to a suspected criminal. Shawnte Hardin, 41, is accused of running fraudulent funeral-related services from the building, according to prosecutors. State Special Agent Alvin E. Clar also said that evidence discovered during the sarch could amount to a violation of Ohio’s law of abuse of a corpse.
- Hardin is connected to another bad business too. He’s believed to be involved to a Columbus business called Islamic Cemetery and was found in possession of cremated remains despite that being forbidden in the Muslim faith.
- It’s unclear whether or not Hardin has or will be charged in connection with the remains. Hardin was incited by a Lucas County grand jury in October on multiple allegations including fraud and running an unlicensed funeral home. Seven charges related to death services were later added in December 2021.
- Hardin’s attorney insists he did nothing wrong. Lawyer Richard Kerger told the Associated Press that a friend and former funeral director asked Hardin to store the unclaimed ashes as a favor. “There’s nothing wrong with helping people dispose the remains of their loved ones,” Kerger claimed.