From The Archives: 2002 Tri-State Crematory scandal

Twenty years ago, authorities recovered more than 300, unburied bodies in north Georgia

NOBLE, Georgia (WDEF) –  We are marking the 20th anniversary this week of one of the most bizarre stories ever in our area.

This week, authorities had just begun to find bodies that had never been cremated at the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, Georgia.

The recovery process took weeks.

Eventually, they found 339 bodies. Many were never identified.

The scandal made national headlines.

And it also generated strong emotions in our area, from the residents who were embarrassed to the family members of the victims who were outraged.

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We have combined a couple of the stories we aired from 2002.

Years later, operator Brent Marsh was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

From the beginning, everyone wanted to know why.  Why did Marsh stop cremating the bodies and begin hiding them around the property (dumping many into a pond).

At the trial, we learned that the crematory itself broke, and Marsh didn’t have enough money to repair it.

And he couldn’t solve or even face the issue.

His attorneys argued that Marsh actually suffered brain damage from mercury poisoning he got from the faulty crematory mechanism.

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