56 cremated remains found in Dayton home

56 cremated remains found in Dayton home

The Dayton Daily News has covered the troubles of the McLin Funeral Home extensively. We were the first to report that the funeral home was continuing to operate after its articles of incorporation were cancelled in 2009 because Scherrie McLin failed to pay coporate franchise taxes. Our coverage led the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors to launch its own investigation. That investigation resulted in McLin’s funeral director’s license and her funeral home’s operating license to be permanently revoked. An investigation by the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office is ongoing.

The cremated remains of 56 people were found Tuesday afternoon at a home owned by former funeral director Scherrie McLin and her sister, Tanya Anderson.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office took the boxes of cremated remains and Dayton police took boxes of records that appeared to be from the former McLin Funeral Home, said Lt. Wendy Stiver. It was unclear why the remains were there, she said.

This is the latest incident that has involved McLin and the funeral home in recent years, during which she has lost her funeral director’s license, the business’ operating license, and this year a major lawsuit involving a client’s family. McLin’s whereabouts are unknown.

There were so many boxes that they filled the back of a large SUV, said coroner’s office Director Ken Betz. The office will start the process of notifying the next of kin. Each box had a label with the name of the person cremated and the date of death, Betz said.

Stiver said a contractor hired to clear out the house, which is in foreclosure, found the cremains and called police. Officers will go through the records seized and try to determine if any crimes had been committed, Stiver said.

Vanessa Niekamp, executive director for the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, said state law requires that cremated remains be disposed of 60 days after they are not claimed.

Disposition of cremains are to be in a grave, crypt or niche — an alcove or a recess in a wall typically used to display an urn, she said.

“She would only be breaking the law if she would have disposed of them by any other means other than a grave, crypt or niche,” Niekamp said.

A funeral home operator can allow the remains to sit in the funeral home well after the 60-day mark.

In October of last year, state investigators with the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors discovered up to 60 containers of cremains at the funeral home, 2801 N. Gettysburg Ave. Investigators were given court-approved permission to search the funeral home for items relating to prepaid funeral contracts.

The state board is the court-appointed receiver of the McLin Funeral Home Inc.’s prepaid funeral contract accounts.

The board became the court-appointed receiver of McLin’s contracts after the licenses of the funeral home and its director, Scherrie McLin, were suspended by the state in March 2011 for violating nine state laws and administrative codes.

At the time the cremains at the closed funeral home were found, state board officials said they had no way of knowing for sure if the remains were unclaimed. Those cremains were left in the funeral home. A court order would have to be issued in order for the state board to take possession of the cremains, Niekamp said.

At McLin’s suspension hearing on Sept. 8, she was accused of holding a body for ransom, according to a report submitted to the board by Marc Myers, a Columbus attorney and hearing officer .

The state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors permanently revoked McLin’s funeral director’s license and that of her funeral home in January after a state investigation revealed McLin violated nine state laws and administrative codes.

The board announced in January that more than $100,000 in prepaid funeral service money was unaccounted for. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed against McLin.

Scherrie McLin and Anderson purchased the Philadelphia Street home in 2000, according to records. Neighbors said it was used as a rental home but had been vacant for more than a year. On July 31, Keybank National Association, based in Brooklyn, filed for foreclosure against Anderson and McLin, claiming they owed nearly $40,000 in principal plus interest on promissory notes. That note, originally issued in 2004 for $25,000, was re-issued for $40,000 in 2007, according to records.

Scherrie McLin is the half-sister of former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin and the daughter of Dayton power broker C.J. McLin Jr., the longtime Ohio Representative who died in 1988. His obituary in Jet Magazine identified Tanya as his stepdaughter.

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