Remains left on shelf as unclaimed at funeral home

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Watch the attached video to see a raw interview with one of the family members affected by the actions of Robert McDermott.

More problems are arising for a Niles funeral home already de-certified by the state over the way it allegedly handled prepaid funerals.

WKBN has uncovered what could only be described as a family’s worst nightmare come true. Cremated remains found inside the Robert P. McDermott Memorial Funeral Home on Warren Avenue may not have been handed over to grieving family members as they thought.

The funeral home is closed for business and its director, Robert McDermott, could be facing charges that stem from an investigation by the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. McDermott was found to have used $150,000 of customers’ prepaid funeral funds for personal use.

Police searched the funeral home and McDermott’s home and came away with computers and even more disturbing evidence. The names of 42 people whose ashes were sitting on a shelf in zippered plastic bags and urns as unclaimed. Family members of the deceased said they thought they already had their loved ones in an urn at home or they had been buried.

Joan Robinson of Niles had the ashes of her brother Bobby Jerina, who was a veteran, buried in 2010. He had a 21-gun salute and an honor guard at the funeral. Robinson was shocked to learn that Robert McDermott may have ruined that special moment.

“All I wanted Bobby to do was rest in peace,” Robinson said. “I don’t even know if there is anything in that urn in the ground that I wept over and put in the ground. This is what’s bothering me so bad that I don’t know what’s in there. I want to go and dig it up myself and open up that urn and find out what’s in there.”

Robinson is not alone. Mildred Robertson of Niles has a similar story.

“When I read that my husband Francis’ name was on cremated remains on a shelf, I was shocked. It was like somebody slapped me,” said Robertson.

Prosecutors are urging anyone with concerns about dealings with the Robert McDermott Funeral home to contact Niles police or the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors at (614)-466-4252

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