Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Government regulations needed in crematorium case

One of the most bizarre and sad cases of both mistrust and neglect came out of Noble, Ga. this week when a coffin with human remains was found behind the home of crematory operator Ray Brent Marsh. Upon further inspection in the area behind his home police found there to be as many as 200 bodies in the woods behind his home.

While the why’s of the case still baffle investigators the most disturbing part of all is that someone could simply run a business such as this and then not perform the services necessary to dispose of a body. In an effort just to simply make money off of the process, an owner of a crematory could simply throw bodies in his back yard in an effort to save money on repairs to a machine.

What is even worse is that there is no government regulations or supervision on places like crematoriums while there is at such places at funeral parlors, allowing careless neglect of bodies and often even not carrying out the last rights that someone asked and paid for.

While the government has regular inspections of funeral homes to be sure that they are performing their necessary operations and that they maintain sanitary conditions, they have yet to impose any such stipulations upon crematoriums.

This behavior has been going on in Noble, Ga. for years. Long enough to make it difficult for investigators to even identify the bodies that they are finding in the woods, due to the fact that Georgia only began tagging corpses in 1994 due to flood reasons. So not only do people in that area of Georgia not know if their deceased family members were properly laid to rest, but now they may never get the chance to allow them the cremation that they originally wished for.

Marsh has been able to improperly dispose of human bodies in the backyard of his home for an estimated 20 years through his family business in an attempt to make some extra money off of the death of others and he only faces charges at this point of 16 counts of felony of theft by deception. Of course, the argument can be raised that he was entrusted with the human bodies so therefore he did not literally steal them, however he did rob families of their peace of mind.

While any charges filed at all ensure that Marsh will face a trial for his crimes, this does nothing to prevent such acts from happening in other places. It also does not give the families of those that should have been cremated any peace of mind whatsoever.

Until the government does regular inspections of crematoriums in the same way that they inspect funeral parlors there is no way to be sure that the last wishes of individuals across the country are actually being carried out.

Information from CNN was used in this story.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Collegian editorial board.

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