Funeral home probe prompts more calls

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Since the story broke on the investigation into the Robert P. McDermott Funeral Home in Niles, dozens of people have been calling Niles police and walking into the police station concerned about a family member’s cremated remains or whether they have been ripped off by owner Bob McDermott.

“My mother’s headstone still doesn’t have her date of interment on it and it should have been dated when she was buried. I was told she didn’t pay. That’s what Bob told me. I knew she paid and it ended up I had to repay what she gave him,” said Thomas McCabe of Vienna.

Police, along with prosecutors and state investigators, are meeting next week to decide where to go from here. McDermott was not home when we knocked on his door Wednesday to get a comment.

He is trying to get his license back. It was taken away by the state after McDermott allegedly mishandled money from prepaid funerals.

McDermott, records say, attributed the wrongdoing to poor business management that occurred because he was focused on providing service to his customers.

Ohio law dictates that funeral home directors must put the money for prepaid services in a trust account within 30 days, which McDermott failed to do for more than 50 customers, records say.

The funeral home is closed for business and 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.

Investigators found remains of 42 cremated customers at the funeral home, which led to the director’s decertification and the funeral home to be sold in foreclosure. Family members of the deceased said they thought they already had their loved ones in an urn at home or they had been buried.

Search warrant affidavits for the Robert P. McDermott Memorial Funeral Home say the cremated remains were found in temporary containers, marble urns and plastic bags.

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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