LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — A Lancaster County funeral director charged with four felony counts of tampering with public records and four counts of abuse of a corpse will stand trail after waiving his preliminary hearing Monday morning, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.
Andrew Scheid, 49, remains free on $250,000 bail after his appearance Monday before District Judge Joshua Keller, who ordered him to stand trail in Lancaster County Court.
Scheid, owner of Andrew T. Scheid Funeral Home in Manor Township, is accused of mishandling bodies in his care and knowingly making false entries on death certificates, prosecutors say.
He was charged after authorities investigated accusations his funeral home was not properly caring for bodies between December 2019 and January of this year.
On January 14, four bodies were recovered from the funeral home, and it was discovered they had been there for periods as short as 4 days and as long as 17 days.
Authorities say that during these times, the bodies were not properly cared for, were not embalmed, sealed or refrigerated – as required by the Funeral Director Board regulations – and were found in various, advanced stages of decomposition.
Police also say that Scheid knowingly made false entries on birth certificates that were filed with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Health Statistics.
On those certificates, Scheid knowingly made false entries on death certificates to create the impression that his handling of the remains was in compliance with Pennsylvania State Funeral Board Regulations.
One victim, Charmaine Antonucci, wanted her body to be donated to science, according to her sister Holly Geerdes. Antonucci planned to donate her body to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for Penn State College of Medicine students’ educational use.
However, Antonucci’s body was left out for four days without embalming or refrigeration, leading to what court documents called “advanced decomposition.”
“Shocked. I really was surprised, especially with her not being refrigerated,” Geerdes said. “It was upsetting.”
Geerdes found a bright side in what happened, though, as the news of what happened to her sister may have helped law enforcement build their case against Scheid.
“I look at this as, It opened the case up and maybe helped a lot of other people that were waiting for help,” Geerdes said.
Scheid's funeral director license is suspended indefinitely, but for no less than three years, per an order from the Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, police say.
He is also facing a civil lawsuit announced in August by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The lawsuit is seeking to obtain restitution for consumers of Andrew T. Scheid Funeral Home services, after an investigation revealed that he failed to properly care for bodies in his possession, and did not perform essential services that had been paid for, such as cremations or preparations for a funeral.