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Last-minute plea deal puts funeral home director behind bars

Updated: Tuesday, February 25 2014, 12:15 PM CST
Reported by: Christina Butler

LANCASTER -- The Lancaster County funeral home director charged with abusing corpses and stealing thousands of dollars from customers will spend at least 5 to 10 years in prison for the financial and theft counts. 

Benjamin Siar Jr. could also face additional time when he is sentenced for the abuse of corpses charges next month. 

Siar owned Gundel Funeral Home in Conestoga. Police say they found four decomposing bodies in a basement attached to the funeral home. The families connected to the bodies believed they had been cremated.

One of the bodies had been there for upwards of 40 days. Another was a two-year-old murder victim. One family believed they had buried their mother's ashes, only to find out later that her body was lying on a table decomposing in a basement.

Siar's trial was set to begin Monday morning. At the last minute he accepted a plea deal for 82 of the 86 charges he faces. They range from forgery to theft of services to bad checks.   

The remaining four charges are the abuse of corpse counts, which he will be sentenced for on March 26. They could add another 8 years on his sentence, meaning he would face a maximum of 18 years behind bars.Last-minute plea deal puts funeral home director behind bars

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