Fri., 2:49pm: Unlicensed mortician had remains of 50
BOSTON – An unlicensed funeral director accused of stealing more than $12,000 from an elderly couple could face more criminal charges after authorities found 12 bodies and the cremated remains of more than 40 others in two self-storage units he rented, authorities said Friday.
Joseph O’Donnell, 55, of Boston, was being held on $10,000 bail in a larceny case when investigators found cremated remains Wednesday at a Somerville self-storage business. On Thursday, they found 12 sets of human remains at a similar business in Weymouth.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said no foul play is suspected and investigators are working to identify the remains.
Conley’s spokesman, Jake Wark, said no charges have been sought yet against O’Donnell in the discovery of the human remains, but authorities are conducting a criminal investigation.
O’Donnell’s funeral director’s license lapsed in 2008. His attorney, Paul Tomasetti, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A message was left at his office.
O’Donnell was charged with larceny in April. He took more than $12,000 in pre-payments from an elderly couple to cover two future funerals, authorities said. When the couple asked to apply one payment to another family member who had died, they learned that O’Donnell’s funeral home had closed and O’Donnell was unable to provide them with their payments, investigators said.
Wark said the mere possession of cremated remains is not a crime. “But the presence of so many does give us some concern, given his alleged behavior in connection with the theft of funeral payments,” he said.
The discovery of the bodies in Weymouth, Wark said, is “a much more serious set of circumstances.”