AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Authorities reportedly found more than 80 cremated human remains while searching a vacant church in Akron, Ohio, on Tuesday, police confirmed to WJW.

Shawnte Hardin (Courtesy: Lucas County Sheriff’s Office)

The search was reportedly part of an ongoing investigation against Shawnte Hardin, who is accused of running multiple illegal funeral businesses across the state.

The remains found at the property are believed to mostly be adults, police sources said, but some may have been children. They are thought to have been stored there for several years.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirmed to WJW that a warrant was executed in Akron on Tuesday as part of their investigation into Hardin, but the office would not confirm any other details as the investigation is ongoing.

In October, Hardin, who was 41 at the time, was indicted in Lucas County on 37 charges stemming from funeral services done without a license after two bodies were removed from a Columbus, Ohio, building he allegedly operated for makeshift funeral services, according to the Attorney General’s Office. He had reportedly also operated businesses — under names such as Hardin Funeral Home, Inc. and American Mortuary Services — in Cuyahoga, Summit and Franklin counties at least since 2019.

Church at East Buchtel Avenue (Credit: WJW)

Hardin was charged with the following:

  • One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony.
  • Three counts of tampering with records, third-degree felonies.
  • One count of theft, a fourth-degree felony.
  • Eight counts of abuse of a corpse, all fifth-degree felonies.
  • Five counts of failure to file taxes, all fifth-degree felonies.
  • Five counts of passing bad checks, all fifth-degree felonies.
  • Two counts of identity fraud, both fifth-degree felonies.
  • Two counts of telecommunications fraud, both fifth-degree felonies.
  • Six counts of representation as a funeral director while unlicensed, two unclassified felonies and four unclassified misdemeanors.
  • Single counts of fifth-degree felony criminal tools and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
  • One count of operating an unlicensed funeral home, an unclassified felony.
  • One count of failure to refrigerate a human body, an unclassified misdemeanor.

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