State forensic examiner assigned to help with Niles, Girard funeral home investigations
A forensic examiner with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has been assigned to assist the Niles and Girard police departments with investigations of two funeral homes.
Dennis Watkins, Trumbull County prosecutor, released a letter this week that he wrote to the attorney general’s office last month asking for help on behalf of the departments with investigations into the Robert P. McDermott Memorial Home on Warren Avenue in Niles and McClurkin Funeral Home on South State Street in Girard.
In both cases, investigators believe the funeral homes improperly used money their clients prepaid for funeral services.
The Niles funeral home is believed to have improperly spent more than $150,000, and the Girard funeral home may have misused more than $400,000, authorities said.
Watkins and an assistant prosecutor Chuck Morrow met with Niles and Girard investigators and officials with the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and Ohio Department of Insurance on Aug. 26.
The parties agreed the county prosecutor’s office could best handle these investigations by consolidating them and taking them directly to a county grand jury for a determination of whether any wrongdoing occurred, the letter said.