Coroner's office says remains date back decades

DAYTON – The boxes of cremains removed Tuesday from a house co-owned by former funeral director Scherrie McLin date back decades, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

The earliest is from 1982, said coroner’s office Director Ken Betz on Wednesday, but all of the rest are from the 1990s and 2000s. The most recent is from 2009.

All of the 56 boxes are labled, listing the names and dates of death. Betz said the office would not be releasing that information until the office had notified relatives and had determined what was the proper procedure in dealing with the cremains. Betz called this an unprecedented situation in Montgomery County, stating, “we’ve never done this before.”

The cremains found at the foreclosed house on Philadelphia Drive were at the McLin Funeral Home in 2011 when state investigators did an inventory of the funeral home, according to Vanessa Niekamp, executive director for the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.

The state did not have authority to remove the cremains, but sometime later someone did remove them to the house on Philadelpha Drive, Niekamp said.

Investigators were given court-approved permission to search the funeral home, 2801 N. Gettysburg Ave., 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.

On Tuesday, the 56 boxes were found at 2121 Philadelphia Drive, which is in foreclosure. A contractor hired to clean out the house called police after he discovered the boxes, Dayton Lt. Wendy Stiver said Tuesday.

Dayton police took boxes of records that appeared to be from the McLin Funeral Home, Stiver said.

The house is co-owned by Scherrie McLin, the half-sister of former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin, and Tanya Anderson, identified as a sister of Scherrie McLin.

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.

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

At McLin’s suspension hearing on Sept. 8, 2011, 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 license and that of her funeral home in January.

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 Drive 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 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.