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Funeral Director Leaves Body of Murdered 2-Year-Old in Basement
A mother was left even more devastated by the murder of her daughter after a funeral director left her body to rot in a basement.
Jessica Bachman lost her two-year-old daughter Ranasia Knight after her former boyfriend Lester Johnson beat her to death.
Bachman thought the girl fell down stairs on January 12, but two days later her boyfriend admitted to punching and kicking her, leaving her blind in one eye and fatally injured.
He was arrested, and Bachman was left to mourn the death of her child. She thought she left her daughter’s body in good hands, after she arranged for her to be cremated, but police knocked on her door on February 1 and said her daughter was one of four found in the basement of a nearby funeral home.
Funeral director Benjamin M. Siar Jr. was paid $400 to cremate Ranasia and deliver her ashes to Bachman.
He did not answer her calls and made excuses for the delay.
“This man knew all the stuff I’m going through,” she said. “It’s bad enough that I had to lose my daughter to a murder. This man came to my house. This man told me my daughter was in good hands.”
Ranasia’s remains have since been cremated by the Groffs Family Funeral and Cremation Services Inc. free of charge. Bachman wears some of her ashes around her neck in a locket.
The other three bodies left to decompose were those of Rosa Kleinhaus, 76, M. Elizabeth Zug, 97, and Sandra J. Hotchkiss, 71.
The funeral director is being held in Lancaster County Prison and faces multiple charges, including abuse of a corpse and theft by deception.
A 24-count complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs could also cost Siar hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and his license.
Officials raided his funeral home when people began complaining about not receiving their loved ones’ remains.
Press secretary for the PA Department of State, Ron Runman, said: “Among other things, they have alleged this individual has violated the act through a gross incompetence, misconduct and negligence and carrying on the duties of being in a funeral director, in addition to some other charges.”
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