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Ohio AG’s office releases list of cremated remains found in Akron church basement

The investigation has turned up at least 90 cremated remains stored in the church, allegedly from Tate Funeral Homes in Toledo.
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 2:31 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 12:51 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Ohio Attorney General’s office has released a list of 90 sets of cremated remains found in the basement of a church in Akron. Several have been identified as belonging to former residents of Toledo. The entire list is below. If you have a family member on the list and need to find out more about how you can take further action, contact the Attorney General’s office at this number: 855-BCI-Ohio (855-224-6446).

According to court filings, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) was alerted to the discovery of these cremated remains by the Ohio Department of Funeral and Embalmers Inspector Troy Seehase. They had been alerted when Angie Small, who referred to herself as an urban explorer, had found the boxes in the basement of the Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church.

In the narrative presented by investigators, Small observed young men entering a side door of the seemingly vacant church on January 9th of this year. When she entered the building to tell them to leave, as it was a church, she discovered boxes on the first floor. Those boxes included names and dates back to at least 2010, as well as the name Tri-county Cremation Services.

The search warrant (available below), says that at least 90 suspected cremated remains were discovered and identified in white boxes and plastic bags within the building. Investigators conducted the search as part of an ongoing investigation of Shawnte Hardin, the senior pastor of the church.

Hardin was indicted by the Lucas County Grand Jury last October on 37 criminal charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, tampering with records, theft, abuse of a corpse, identify fraud, representation as a funeral director while unlicensed, and passing bad checks.

In an interview with Hardin’s attorney, conducted by our sister station WOIO in Cleveland, Hardin claimed he had been holding the cremated remains for Robert Tate. Tate was a funeral director in Toledo, owner of Tate Funeral Homes, who lost his license in 2015 following an investigation that revealed he had stored bodies improperly. Tate has since passed away.

A survey of the list of cremated remains provided by BCI has determined that several of the discovered cremated remains were indeed those of Toledo residents. 13abc is working to confirm the rest of the list.

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