Fulton County funeral director will face felony charges

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JOHNSTOWN – During his long law enforcement career, Johnstown Police Chief David Gilbo says he thought he’s seen everything, but after beginning an investigation at a local funeral home, he now says this case is really bizarre.

Unless you’re watching a police drama on television, you don’t generally see detectives searching for evidence at a funeral home.

Johnstown Police say numerous complaints led them to the Ehle and Barnett Family Funeral Home on North Williams Street.

"It’s going to take us a while to go through all of the identification process," Gilbo said.

He says four bodies and 18 cremated remains were discovered on the property. The owner, 35-year-old Brian Barnett, whose funeral director’s license was revoked by the state last November, is now facing numerous charges.

"We have plans on charging three counts of concealment of a corpse, a Class E felony, and one count of grand larceny, which is a D felony," Gilbo stated.

The chief says the only motive he can see at this point is the need to make money.

"As far as law enforcement, we’ll be digging into the financials to see what money was actually paid for services, or not," Gilbo said.

Barnett’s brother declined comment on Friday.

In the meantime, the Fulton County coroner has already begun the painstaking task of identifying the remains so that they can be returned to loved ones.

"I have to be like 200% sure, so nothing is being released until I can identify everything I have to have," said Coroner Margret Luck.

Chief Gilbo says the case is complicated, and it will take some time for everything to be sorted out.

Additionally, he says more charges are likely.