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Ohio minister charged after remains found in church, family recalls red flags



AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – When Barbara Renee Moore died in Might 2018, her daughter, Tara, who had no expertise with planning for funerals, was left to make the preparations.

Moore stated she recalled an earlier dialog with a minister named Shawnte Hardin, who she trusted regardless of understanding there have been others who raised crimson flags about his practices. She requested him to handle her mom’s preparations.

“I used to be advised to watch out with him as a result of there had been different folks that my supply knew that had handled him that wasn’t happy, so the factor was since you don’t have some huge cash to work with,” Moore advised Nexstar’s WJW.

Moore explains that Hardin made funerals inexpensive for many who “didn’t have the cash or assets.”

“When he involves you and says you may have the exact same factor at half the value, nicely, if it saves you from having to arrange a GoFundMe pages, promoting dinners and falling out with household about cash they don’t have, it was simply extra possible,” she added.

Moore stated the service was held at a small church. Instantly afterward, there have been issues.

“No return calls, no messages, no apologies, no nothing,” Moore stated.

It took months, however ultimately Barbara Moore’s cremated stays got to her daughters in Akron. The expertise tore the household aside.

“As a result of crimson flags had been going off now, persons are second-guessing, questioning, particularly the monetary finish of every little thing. This has actually put a wedge in my household. A few of us are barely talking so emotionally, financially, simply the connection between relations are usually not there anymore due to Hardin,” Moore stated.

Hardin was arrested close to Toledo in October on a number of fees in a Lucas County indictment, which embrace abuse of a corpse and working an unlicensed funeral house. The arrest was made following the invention of human cremains saved at a enterprise in Columbus.

Shawnte Hardin mugshot
Shawnte Hardin

He has since been re-indicted and faces greater than 40 completely different fees, together with abuse of a corpse, illustration as a funeral director whereas unlicensed, id fraud and theft. He pleaded not responsible to all fees.

Within the church the place Moore’s mom was laid to relaxation, the Ohio Bureau of Legal Investigation confirmed dozens of human cremains have been discovered.

Hardin’s legal professional, Richard Kerger of Toledo, advised WJW his consumer by no means portrayed himself as a funeral director and was merely attempting to supply a service.

“As we perceive the legal guidelines of Ohio, he doesn’t need to be licensed. He’s performing these companies as a minister in his church and there’s a particular exemption for rabbis or leaders within the Muslim neighborhood to carry out these companies, Amish are large customers of these companies,” Kerger stated.

“It’s contended that he was saying he was a funeral director. I can guarantee you that he knew since 2016 that the funeral and embalmers board was after him for that cause and he would by no means have stated that he’s a funeral director. He might have made some errors early on; I do know there are some enterprise playing cards with that time period on it however I’m unsure he ever used it,” he added.

WJW discovered an abuse of a corpse cost filed towards Hardin in Akron Municipal Court docket in 2017, months earlier than Barbara Moore’s funeral. It was dismissed by the courtroom.

Akron church
(WJW photograph)

“Now, I’m not saying that the people who find themselves submitting complaints are mendacity. They’re in a really emotional interval of their lives, they misplaced a cherished one and are attempting to deal with it and presumably have little or no understanding of the funeral enterprise or the way it works,” Kerger stated.

The Moores admit they had been grief-stricken and weak however trusted an individual who they noticed as a person of God to deal with them correctly.

However Kerger stated the cremains that had been discovered on the church got here from Toledo Funeral Director Robert Tate, who gave up his license in 2016 after going through fees himself.

“Tate bought cross smart with the board and had I believe 11 our bodies awaiting cremation and had been saved in his funeral house and the board contended that was improper. He was charged with abuse of a corpse and that case was resolved with him delivering his funeral director’s license, leaving that occupation and agreeing to do one thing,” Kerger stated.

Kerger stated Tate owned the Akron church and donated the constructing to Hardin. After shedding his license in 2016, Tate gave Hardin the cremains to retailer within the church, saying the households by no means got here again to choose them up and Tate was having bother figuring out family members.

“Mr. Tate died in 2017, a 12 months after he misplaced his license. So Shawn has these cremains. He didn’t know what to do with them, he didn’t simply need to eliminate them as a result of, as unlikely as it’s, a member of the family may in some way observe it down and say, ‘Hey you’ve the stays of my grandfather,’” Kerger stated.

Kerger couldn’t inform WJW if Hardin had any of the paperwork associated to the found cremains.

The Moores, nevertheless, stated they by no means bought their paperwork from Hardin, together with a dying certificates. Now, they’re left to marvel if what’s within the urn they got is even the cremains of Barbara.

“A few of us had been simply attending to the purpose the place we may speak about her and never cry. We had been simply attending to that time, however this has reopened… It’s horrible,” Moore stated.

“He was attempting to supply a service. Is it potential he made a mistake sometimes? In fact, it’s potential, he’s human. That doesn’t make him a legal,” Kerger stated.

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