ROSEVILLE (WWJ/AP) – Dozens of cremated remains discovered in the basement of a Roseville funeral home will be interred, police said.
The remains of more than 100 people were found overall, and Roseville Police Detective Mark Pratt spent more than a year tracking down their families. He was unable to locate relatives for about 40.
“There was a lot of shock and dismay,” Deputy Chief James Berlin told the Detroit Free Press. “Many thought their loved ones’ ashes had been interred, their ashes had been spread.”
Berlin said many remains had been left at the Buehler Funeral Home so it could comply with the deceased’s final requests for burial.
Most of the 40 will be interred in Clinton Township’s Cadillac Memorial Gardens East, which donated space. Pratt worked with an organization that learned three of the people were veterans, and their remains were to be taken to the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township and interred with full military honors.
Funeral home operators 62-year-old Mark Buehler and his wife 47-year-old Lisa, each pleaded guilty last May to more than three dozen charges connected to a pre-paid funeral scam in which they may have collected up to $500,000 from as many as 200 people. They were ordered to pay more than $350,000 in restitution to more than 150 victims. They await sentencing.
Authorities say $352,000 that was supposed to be held in escrow instead was spent by the couple. Police seized Lexus and Jaguar cars. Some contracts were paid as far back as 1993.
Judge John Foster said in August that it was more important to come up with a remedy rather than immediately punish the Buehlers, who could go to prison.
“This is something that affects people’s hearts, their souls,” Foster said.
When they are sentenced, the Buehler face the possibility of up to five years behind bars.
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