Tri-State Crematory victims reflect a decade later - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tri-State Crematory victims reflect a decade later

NOBLE, WALKER COUNTY (WRCB)  --  Leatha Shropshire wears a T-shirt with her mom's picture on it Wednesday.

"Knowing that my mother was so disrespected, I don't know how I'm ever going to be able to deal with that," she says.  

Shropshire is just one of hundreds of family members who learned their loved ones weren't cremated as they had thought.

Instead, their bodies were piled on top of each other and hidden out of view at the Tri-State Crematory in Walker County. Authorities discovered 334 bodies 10 years ago on February 15.  

"Well, there's times when it seems like it's been forever, and then there's times when it seems like it was just yesterday," Shropshire says.

Her mom died two weeks before authorities found the bodies on Brent Marsh's property.

For Shropshire, the news was like reliving her death all over again.

"To see her laying on this nasty floor with a number sitting on her chest was one of the hardest things I've ever seen in my life," Shropshire explains.  

She says she may never be able to forgive Marsh, or his family.

"Of course I blamed all the Marsh family and I still do," she says.

"You know it's time to forgive and it's time to move on," says Marsh's attorney, McCracken Poston. "I think the entire thing was caused by environmental problems."

He believes Marsh suffered from mercury poisoning after working around the cremation oven.

"In Brent, I think it took a, it's a neuro toxin," Poston explains. "It took a psychological course." 

Poston says the national coverage the story brought to north Georgia didn't help.

"Everybody who had ever worked or been on that property was suddenly the subject of a mob cry for their heads," he says.  

"Pure anger and adrenaline kept us going," says Shropshire.  

"At some point you move on," Poston says. "There are bad things that happen in the world and I hope that they can find their peace."

Marsh was given a 12-year prison sentence in 2005.

Sheriff Steve Wilson tells Channel 3 he is eligible for parole in 2013; however, he believes Marsh will serve his full sentence.

Channel 3 contacted Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell about the planned memorial.

She says the county has the $45,000 for the project but she's in the process of looking at different proposals.

Heiskell will make a decision on March 10.   

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