Officials to resume search at former funeral home property

by: Alexa Ashwell Updated:

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ANSON COUNTY, N.C. —

A community remains on edge as authorities plan to resume searching a 30-acre plot of land in Lilesville Saturday. The property belongs to the family of former funeral director Mary McLendon.
 
On Wednesday McLendon was sentenced for fraud. Investigators said she failed to cremate bodies after taking funeral money from families. During her sentencing investigators said McLendon confessed one body was still in the now-vacant home.
 
Investigators went there later that day and found two badly decomposed bodies that had been there for years. One body was identified as Marshall Allen. The other corpse has yet to be identified.
 
On Friday police, sheriff's deputies and SBI agents, armed with a search warrant, used the help of cadaver dogs to search the tract of land belonging to McLendon's family.
 
Investigators said the cadaver dogs hit on multiple locations, where they began excavating, but didn't find anything.
 
Officials suspended the search at approximately 4:30 p.m. Friday.
 
"I hope they find what they are looking for soon," said Wanda Burch, who said she once did business with McLendon. "I hate to say this but she needs to pay for this in some way."
 
Burch and other residents told Channel 9 they were shocked by the possibility there may be more bodies McLendon didn't properly dispose of.
 
Whatever they find, the sheriff said it was their duty to investigate.
 
The property also contains a 4-acre pond, which adds a level of complication to the investigation.
 
"I'm just hoping all of this can come to a conclusion soon," said Gene Burroughs.  "We don't want anything like this to come back up again."
 
Channel 9 will continue to follow this search and investigation as it develops.

McLendon's history of violations

Channel 9 has learned McLendon has lengthy history of violations dating back to 2006.

According to the North Carolina Board of Funeral Services, those violations include changing dates on death certificates, using funeral funds for her own use, and failing to refund clients.

In 2010, deputies found three dead bodies inside the funeral home that weren't properly disposed of.

The board eventually revoked McLendon's license in 2012.

Channel 9 asked the executive director why the board waited six years to revoke her license.
We are still waiting to hear back.

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