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Ashes to Ashes … to Dumpster

CLEVELAND (CN) - A funeral home kept a veteran's ashes in a storage unit for 3 years rather than burying them in a National Cemetery, as it promised, and the ashes eventually turned up in a Dumpster, the family claims in court.

Eric Wiley, a Vietnam veteran, died on March 4, 2010 at 64. His widow, Dorothy Wiley, and their daughter, Stephanie Hill, sued Charles Taylor and Charles Taylor Funeral and Cremation Services in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

The family says they paid Taylor to cremate Wiley and transport and bury his ashes in Western Reserve National Cemetery.

Instead, the widow says, the funeral home stored the ashes - along with those of two other customers - in a storage unit in nearby Macedonia, Ohio.

The widow and her daughter say they learned what Taylor had done after a man searching for firewood found the ashes in a Dumpster and reported it to a local news station.

According to the complaint: "Mr. Charles Taylor failed to pay his bill for said storage unit, and in or about November 2013, Mr. Bob Zimmerman, the owner of the storage facility, dumped all the contents of Mr. Taylor's storage unit into a commercial Dumpster along Akron-Pennsylvania Road in Akron, Ohio."

Taylor's funeral director's license and flags also were found in the Dumpster, and Taylor "admitted on television that he had left the remains in the storage facility," according to the lawsuit.

The widow and daughter seek compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

They are represented by Roni Sokol of Beachwood, Ohio.

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