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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 11:44 GMT
More grim finds at US crematorium
Searchers at the crime scene
Searchers expect to find more bodies
Investigators searching for discarded bodies at crematorium in the American state of Georgia have discovered five more corpses dumped in a pit.

The find brings the total number of bodies recovered in the past 10 days to 306.

The magnitude of the situation has not yet been totally determined

David Ashburn
Emergency director

The crematorium's operator, Ray Brent Marsh, has been charged in connection with the findings at the Tri-State Crematory in the town of Noble.

The latest bodies to be recovered were found by teams clearing brush, rubbish and timber from the crematorium grounds.

Searchers found bones near the surface and the bodies buried underneath.

Officials said they expect to find more bodies.

"The magnitude of the situation has not yet been totally determined, and will not be for some time," said David Ashburn, the Walker County emergency management director.


Sixty-five bodies have so far been named, but authorities say some of the corpses will never be identified.

More than 3,500 families have provided information to help with the identification process, said Mr Ashburn.

Searchers at the crime scene
Ray Brent Marsh faces 16 charges

The case came to light after a skull was unearthed by a woman walking her dog in woodland in the area.

Investigators have since found scores of discarded corpses and partial remains in vaults, woodland, a lake and a shed in the grounds of the crematorium.

Some of the deceased are estimated to have been left for up to 15 years.

Mr Marsh - who took over the crematorium from his parents in 1996 - has been charged with 16 counts of theft by deception for accepting payment for cremations he did not perform.

If convicted, he faces between one and 15 years in jail on each charge.

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