A Pennsylvania funeral director has been charged with abuse of a corpse after he did not embalm or refrigerate four bodies that were left out unsealed for days, authorities said.
The Andrew T. Scheid Funeral Home in Lancaster County was already inundated with unrelated civil and sexual harassment lawsuits when the eponymous owner was arrested on Thursday.
Andrew T. Scheid was charged with four misdemeanor counts of abuse of a corpse and four felony counts of tampering with public records/information.
The charges were brought up by the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office and the Manor Township Police Department after they staged an investigation into the 49-year-old.
Over several months, the two agencies alleged that Scheid was intentionally mishandling dead bodies at his funeral home and then falsifying death certificate entries to match.
The alleged crimes occurred from December 2019 to January 2020 at the Andrew T. Scheid Funeral Home on Blue Rock Road.
On January 14, authorities recovered four bodies from the funeral home that had been left out between four to 17 days.
Authorities said that none of the bodies were properly cared for and were varying states of decomposition.
‘Upon recovery, the bodies were not embalmed, sealed or refrigerated – as required by the Funeral Director Board regulations – and were found in various, advanced stages of decomposition such that it would outrage ordinary family sensibilities,’ according to a press release.
Scheid is also accused of intentionally submitting false entries on death certificates that were filed with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Health Statistics.
He allegedly made the false entries to give the impression that his handling of the four bodies was in compliance with Pennsylvania State Funeral Board Regulations.
One body belonged to Charmaine Antonucci, who had hoped that her remains would be donated to the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for medical student use.
But Antonucci’s body was left out for four days without refrigeration or embalming, leading to what has been described as ‘advanced decomposition.’
Her family was upset, but also have an optimistic view on the matter.
‘I look at this as, It opened the case up and maybe helped a lot of other people that were waiting for help,’ her sister, Holly Geerdes, told Fox 43.
Scheid surrendered to authorities on Thursday and is being held with a $250,000 unsecured bond.
His funeral director license has been suspended indefinitely but for no more than three years, per order from the Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs
According to a separate investigation by the East Lampeter Township Police Department, which sits just 30 minutes east of Manor Township, Scheid allegedly also used bad checks to make business purchases.
‘Scheid is charged with providing a $7,500 check to purchase a burial vault in December from Evans Eagle Burial Vaults,’ the press release said.
‘Scheid wrote the check with insufficient funds in the attached account, and, after the check returned as insufficient, still did not make good on the payment.’
He was charged with one misdemeanor count of bad checks.
‘The thorough investigation revealed these eight serious charges as violations of criminal statutes,’ said Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams.
Adams added that a number people they interviewed had serious complaints against The Andrew T. Scheid Funeral Home, but authorities determined those would be better suited for a civil action.
A number of negative reviews were left on the funeral home’s Facebook page, including one post that called its services ‘unprofessional.’
Another detailed a woman’s alleged experience with Scheid and urged others to thoroughly research him.
‘During this investigation we examined dozens of complaints that revealed deficient business practices and poor business etiquette that understandably caused the decedents’ families frustration and further grief. However, it was determined that the conduct did not rise to the level of criminal actions.’
Those complaints over Scheid’s businesses dealings have been gathered into a separate civil lawsuit filed by the Lancaster County DA’s Office.
AG Josh Shapiro announced on Thursday the civil lawsuit was seeking to get restitution for affected customers and permanently shut down Andrew T. Scheid Funeral Home.
‘Andrew Scheid treated recently deceased Pennsylvanians with no care, and betrayed dozens of families who put their trust in him and his business,’ said Shaprio in a statement.
The AG office argued that Scheid, ‘through gross incompetency, negligence, and misconduct,’ violated the Funeral Director Law, the Funeral Board of Regulations and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection.
‘On December 19, 2019, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through the Bureau of Occupational Affairs, filed a thirty (30) count Order to Show Cause (“OSC”), alleging, inter alia, that Scheid and the Funeral Home violated the Funeral Director Law and the Funeral Board Regulations by engaging in gross incompetency, negligence and misconduct of the profession,’ the lawsuit read.
But even before Scheid’s latest charges, he and his funeral home were the center of separate civil and sexual assault lawsuits.
A suit filed by Kim McPahil said Sceid was negligent and did not take the proper steps to prepare for her mother’s funeral in December 2019, Lancaster Online reports.
‘Scheid did not arrive to the funeral service with a casket or the body,’ the lawsuit states,’ the lawsuit read.
‘So the service proceeded without the casket, the body, the flowers, the prayer cards, the register book, or any of the services Scheid was to provide.’
McPhail said she had ‘nightmares and emotional and mental trauma’ afterwards.
Just last week, Andrew T. Scheid Funeral Home and a former employee settled in a federal lawsuit that accused Scheid’s wife of sexual harassment
A New Jersey man alleged that Joseline Scheid had made inappropriate advances and tried to touch him. Scheid allegedly did nothing to intervene.
A judge dismissed the lawsuit on August 5 after the two parties reached a settlement.