Crematory owner to face additional theft charges

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

LaFAYETTE, Ga. -- Authorities filed 100 more criminal charges Tuesday against the operator of a crematory where hundreds of corpses have been discovered.

Ray Brent Marsh already faced 16 counts of theft by deception for allegedly taking money for cremations he never performed at Tri-State Crematory.

The 100 additional theft by deception charges were filed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and issued in a warrant by Walker County Magistrate Judge Shelia Thompson.

The new counts were connected to 50 of the corpses found at Tri-State. For each body, one count was filed for taking money from the families and another for failing to give the ashes to the families, officials said.

So far, 339 corpses have been found on the crematory grounds. Only 70 of the bodies have been identified.

Gov. Roy Barnes was notified Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will not give the state money for clean-up. FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh said "an emergency declaration is neither appropriate nor warranted."

Officials have said they cannot estimate the cost of the cleanup until all the bodies have been recovered, but believe it will surpass $10 million.

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