Toledo police, state officials investigating possible abuse of a dead body by two men

Published: Jan. 8, 2019 at 4:35 PM EST
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A back alley building with newspaper covered windows isn't the typical set up for embalming bodies, but it's exactly the spot where Toledo police found one man's body.

"It does appear that their loved one was not cared for the way that he should have been," said Lt. Kevan Toney with TPD.

On December 6, 2018, officers were called to a building behind The Rock Church off Airport Highway on reports of an improperly stored body. The person who made the call was a transport driver for the Lucas County Coroner.

"Those conditions alerted them and [they] felt it was necessary to make that notification and then that's when the detective picked up the investigation," said Toney.

Reports show the body was delivered from the coroner's office to the building. Detectives say it was taken there to be embalmed.

"It wasn't a normal funeral home set up that you would see at most common funeral homes," said Toney.

Officers say the man's body was eventually turned back over to the coroner's office.

Investigators identified Scottie Rodgers, 49, and Shawnte Hardin, 38, as suspects behind the operation. A search of an Ohio database doesn't list either as certified by the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. So far no arrests have been made.

Our crews stopped by the building where the pair supposedly worked, but got no answer. 13abc did find, however, that Hardin was previously dismissed on Abuse of Corpse charges in Akron.

"We're still working on putting all the pieces together before official charges are filed," said Toney. "So we're working with the prosecutor's office on that at this time."

While police don't suspect bad intentions they do say the conditions in which the body was stored were not right. That's why they stress the importance of using reliable, licensed funeral care.

"Certainly use a reputable funeral home or service," said Toney. "This appeared to be kind of a 'fly-by-night' type of situation."

The state of Ohio tells 13abc it's running an active investigation into Hardin's suspected operations,

Officials do tell us, however, that the receipt and delivery of bodies is not regulated in Ohio.

We also reached out to the coroner's office for further comment, but did not hear back by deadline.