Police identifying remains found at Niles funeral home, prosecut - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Police identifying remains found at Niles funeral home, prosecutors continue investigation

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NILES, Ohio - Police believe the dozens of families affected by a recent discovery of cremated remains in a former funeral home here did receive the correct remains of their deceased family members.

A search warrant executed August 16 at the McDermott Funeral Home to retrieve records related to accusations that Robert McDermott mishandled $150,000 from clients uncovered 42 parcels of cremated remains.

Niles police are currently attempting to sort and return those remains, which are believed to be left over from the cremation process or returned to the funeral home, to the appropriate families.

"Most of them are in bags, contained in boxes that were returned from the crematories ... There should be an I.D. tag in them, a metal tag, some kind of a stamped tag," says Niles police captain Ken Criswell.

Police have fielded more than one-hundred calls about the remains.

In the next four to six weeks, the remains should be reviewed and returned to relatives.

The most recent information about those remains was released at Wednesday's meeting between the Trumbull County prosecutors, Niles police and the state board overseeing funeral directors.

The meeting was about the investigation into the money McDermott is accused of mishandling.

McDermott admitted to the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors he failed to place the money of 50 customers into pre-planned funeral contracts, a required process within 30 days of the money being handed over.

McDermott lost his funeral director's license in July, which he has since appealed, and it's expected he will face criminal charges in the case. The funeral home has since been sold to a local bank as part of a Sheriff's auction.

McDermott has declined to comment to police or the media.

Most recently, McDermott has been reportedly found digging a hole at a Weathersfield Township cemetery.

The Weathersfield police chief tells 21 News the sexton at the Kerr Cemetery reported finding McDermott and another, unidentified male digging a 2-foot-by-2-foot hole near the grave of an infant on August 22 around 2 p.m.

The sexton later told police the hole was filled with cement.

Weathersfield police turned the report and investigation over to the prosecutor's office.

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