Tags: More | Bodies | Found | Georgia | Crematorium

More Bodies Found At Georgia Crematorium

Monday, 18 February 2002 12:00 AM

Ray Brent Marsh, a member of the family that operated the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, about 90 miles northwest of Atlanta, was released on $25,000 bond on Sunday after being jailed on five counts of theft by deception.

Of 97 bodies or partial remains found so far in storage buildings and in nearby woods, 16 had been identified by Sunday afternoon. Authorities went to the site on Friday after an anonymous telephone caller reported body parts in the woods.

Dr. Kris Sperry, chief medical examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said some of the bodies were badly decomposed and may have been in the woods as long as 20 years.

"I would not be surprised if when this is over, there may even be a total of several hundred," Sperry said.

"There is no rational or logical explanation for this," Sperry said. "I can't comprehend this."

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said "another gruesome discovery" was made Sunday morning "just when we thought that it had gotten as worse as it could possibly be.

"As we were uncovering an opening -- a sealed concrete vault -- we discovered one concrete vault stuffed or packed with more human remains," Wilson said.

"It appears there could be as many as 20 remains in this one concrete vault. And we know that there are at least five or six vaults on the property that have not been opened as of this afternoon," he said.

Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, who declared a state of emergency at the 16-acre site, met with distressed family members, some of whom brought urns of what they were told were the ashes of the deceased.

"I feel terrible and I wish I had a magic wand to make it all go away," Barnes said.

Rusty Cash, whose mother-in-law, Norma Hutton, was supposed to have been cremated two months ago, said she did not know what was in the urn that she was told contained the remains. "It looks like dust and woodchips," she said.

Walker County Coroner Dewayne Wilson said the identifies of the bodies "are being verified 10 times over ... before they are released to the funeral homes."

Walker County District Attorney Buzz Franklin Jr. said that he plans to file more charges in the case. "There has to be some identification made before we can get to the point where we can have enough information to take proper warrants," he said.

Franklin said Marsh was charged with theft by deception because he "had an obligation to dispose of these remains by cremating them and he failed to do that."

State environmental officials were concerned that the remains had contaminated a nearby lake and water supplies.

"As of right now, there is no contamination in any of the wells located in the area that were checked this morning," said Gary McConnell, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

"We also have legal experts now looking (to see) if there is any other property owned by this family. We might need to look outside of this area. We're trying to make arrangements how to finally clean this property up once it's not a crime scene anymore," McConnell said.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Ray Brent Marsh, a member of the family that operated the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, about 90 miles northwest of Atlanta, was released on $25,000 bond on Sunday after being jailed on five counts of theft by deception. Of 97 bodies or partial remains found so far in...
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2002-00-18
Monday, 18 February 2002 12:00 AM
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