TOLEDO, Ohio – The owner of a funeral home where several bodies intended for cremation were found in a state of decay was charged Wednesday with abuse of a corpse.
The two-count indictment said that Robert Tate Jr. treated a corpse in a way that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities. The charge against him is a felony.
Tate already has had his license suspended by a state board that oversees funeral homes and has been sued by the family of a man whose body was among those in the funeral home.
Authorities removed the bodies of 10 adults and a premature infant from Tate Funeral Services in late May after receiving a complaint about the business. Most of the bodies had been stored in cremation boxes and body bags inside a garage with a leaking roof and wet floor, and at least one had been there since January, a state inspector said.
The inspector went to the funeral home after a relative said the cremation of her uncle's body was taking too long.
A statement from the funeral home released shortly after the bodies were removed 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.
A message seeking comment on the indictment was left with Tate's attorney on Wednesday.