Neighbors Had Not Seen Smoke At Crematory "For Years"

  • Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Neighbors to the Tri-State Crematory at Noble, Ga., said they had not seen smoke coming from the property for years.

Brent Marsh has told authorities the crematory was not working so bodies were placed in vaults and shallow graves instead. Marsh, 28, remains in jail facing 16 theft by deception charges thus far.

The Marsh family purchased the crematorium from a Florida company in 1992. Officials with the firm said the last contact they had with the Marshes was in 1997 when a part was ordered for it.

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said investigators are looking into whether Marsh had ordered numerous 900- to 1,000-gallon septic tanks for possible disposal of bodies. He had permits for four.

Five of those vaults have been opened and all have been filled with bodies, officials said.

Marsh was not on a list of county-approved septic-tank installers, the sheriff said.

Authorities are looking into whether bodies may have been thrown into a lake on the 16-acre Marsh property. The state Environmental Protection Division is testing water in the lake to determine if it is safe for divers to look for bodies. An underwater camera will be used.

Officials said they are concerned that if the water is tainted that draining the lake would send polluted water downstream.

The lake is about three acres wide and 10 feet deep. The Marshes let members of the community fish there, and to use its pavilion.

Walker County workers are cutting a new access road onto the Marsh property to accommodate the emergency vehicles involved in the search for bodies.

A portable morgue with 800 square feet of space and a team of specialists who helped identify bodies at the World Trade Center is coming to Noble to help ID the corpses.

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