Local News

Conestoga funeral home operator charged with abusing corpses

A Lancaster County funeral home operator is facing some disturbing charges.

Benjamin M. Siar is accused of abusing four corpses and theft by deception after authorities found four decomposing bodies at the Gundel Funeral Home in Conestoga.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Siar accepted payment for the cremation and funeral services of each one.

“The families, I imagine, will never be able to forget this. He’s got to answer for this,” Stedman said.

Siar is facing four counts of abuse of a corpse and four counts of theft by deception.

“This is going to get much bigger. Particularly in the financial realm. We hope that’s the end of the bodies, but I can’t say that it is,” Stedman said.

Authorities carried out a search warrant Thursday night and found the bodies inside. One was in a cardboard box, one was in a cooling unit, and the others were just laying out in the open. All passed away between December 20 and January 21.

“All of them in state of decomposition and obviously disturbing circumstances,” Stedman said.

“The family members of these people who passed away put their trust in him, put their trust in the funeral home, that your loved one will be taken care of with honor, dignity, respect. And instead what they’ve received is and what we’ve had to inform them of today are these indignities,” Stedman said.

Siar turned himself in to the district attorney’s office Friday night. He was booked into the Lancaster County Prison on $250,000 bail.

gundel

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3 Comments to “Conestoga funeral home operator charged with abusing corpses”

    jennifer said:
    February 2, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    How many days do the drs have to sign death certificates in Pa? You can not cremate bodies without a death cert. It doesnt sound like he was hiding them. All bodies to be cremated are placed in cremation containers (cardboard boxes) to take to the crematory. I think we need more information before we can be judge and jury for this man.

    Precwfe said:
    February 2, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    We must ALL take into consideration he did not kill these people. They were already dead. I think he had intentions to take them to be cremated but due to holding the bodies for more than a few weeks caused a problem at the crematory. Iit cost money. A lot of funeral directors get stiffed for payment. (no punt intended) he fell behind in paying his bills which caused this to happen. He should have reached out for help from other local FD.

      KST said:
      February 3, 2013 at 1:20 AM

      Thank you for having some common sense.

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