Funeral home owner arrested, arraigned

Around 8:30 p.m. Friday night 41-year-old Benjamin M. Siar Jr. of Lancaster walked into his arraignment at the Lancaster City Police Headquarters.

He surrendered to Lancaster County officials just hours before.

The during his appearance in night court he was very matter of fact, showing no remorse. He barely reacted when the judge reminded him of a previous DUI conviction and then set his bail and $250,000 straight.

Earlier Friday, authorities have announced charges against the owner of a Lancaster County funeral home where police said they found decomposing bodies.

Benjamin M. Siar Jr., 41, of Lancaster, faces four counts each of theft and abuse of a corpse. He has not been arrested and authorities are urging him to surrender.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Friday that several families paid Siar thousands of dollars for cremation services that were never provided.

Police on Thursday executed a search warrant at the Gundel Funeral Home, at 3225 Main Street in Conestoga, and found four bodies in various stages of decomposition, according to Stedman.

Stedman said two bodies were found in the garage, one in a cooling unit and another in a cardboard box, and two more were found on a table in the basement.

According to the district attorney, one of the bodies was that of Ranasia Knight, a 2-year-old Lancaster girl who died January 12 after she allegedly was beaten by her mother's boyfriend. Another body was that of a person who died in mid-December.

abc27 News first reported Tuesday that at least eight families filed complaints against Siar. Stedman said he expects more charges as the investigation continues.

The Gundel family no longer owns the Gundel Funeral Home, which has locations in Conestoga and Lancaster.

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