More bodies found at crematorium

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The Independent US

The Georgia crematorium at the centre of the discarded bodies scandal continued to give up more corpses yesterday as families started planning funerals for deceased relatives to whom they believed they had already said goodbye.

A total of 139 bodies have been found at the Tri-State Crematory, though only 21 have been identified. Authorities believe up to 300 rotting corpses could be scattered at the site at Noble, 70 miles north of Atlanta.

As police continued to question the operator of the crematorium, Ray Brent Marsh, they said they were also considering bringing charges against his father, Tommy, who handed over the running of the crematorium to his son in 1996. Police have charged Ray Brent Marsh with 16 counts of fraud and theft, and more charges are likely. He remains in custody and has told police the bodies were stacked up or discarded because the furnace had broken. Officials are checking gas company records and have contacted the manufacturer of the incinerator to determine when it was last used.

Two lawsuits have been brought so far against the crematorium by relatives of people whose bodies have been found.

The Georgia Funeral Services Board said up to 30 funeral homes that dealt with the crematorium could come under the scrutiny of investigators.

It could take several weeks before all the bodies are recovered from the 16-acre site. Officials will have to decide whether to send divers or use an underwater camera to see if there are bodies in the crematorium's lake, or if the lake must be drained.