Over 80 cremated remains found in vacant Akron church, police sources say

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Authorities reportedly found more than 80 cremated human remains while searching a vacant church in Akron Tuesday, police sources confirm to the FOX 8 I-Team.

Shawnte Hardin, Courtesy: Lucas County Sheriff’s Office

The search was reportedly part of an ongoing investigation against Shawnte Hardin, who is accused of running multiple illegal funeral businesses across the state.

The remains found at the East Buchtel Avenue property are believed to mostly be adults, police sources told FOX 8 I-Team’s Peggy Gallek, but some may have been children. They are thought to have been stored there for several years.

East Buchtel Avenue, FOX 8 Photo

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirms to FOX 8 that a warrant was executed in Akron on Tuesday as part of their investigation into Hardin, but would not confirm any other details as the investigation is ongoing.

In October, Hardin was indicted in Lucas County on 37 charges stemming from funeral services done without a license. He had reportedly also operated businesses — under names such as Hardin Funeral Home, Inc. and American Mortuary Services — in Cuyahoga, Summit, and Franklin counties at least since 2019.

Hardin was charged with the following, as stated by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office:

  • One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony.
  • Three counts of tampering with records, third-degree felonies.
  • One count of theft, a fourth-degree felony.
  • Eight counts of abuse of a corpse, all fifth-degree felonies.
  • Five counts of failure to file taxes, all fifth-degree felonies.
  • Five counts of passing bad checks, all fifth-degree felonies.
  • Two counts of identity fraud, both fifth-degree felonies.
  • Two counts of telecommunications fraud, both fifth-degree felonies.
  • Six counts of representation as a funeral director while unlicensed, two unclassified felonies and four unclassified misdemeanors.
  • Single counts of fifth-degree felony criminal tools and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
  • One count of operating an unlicensed funeral home, an unclassified felony.
  • One count of failure to refrigerate a human body, an unclassified misdemeanor.

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