Former director of Ryder Funeral Home arraigned in court

(Western Mass News file photo)

We have a followup to a disturbing story about a former South Hadley funeral director and the alleged improper disposal of bodies.William Ryder is indicted on 56 counts involving larceny and improper disposal of bodies. He appeared Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court on those charges.On Monday, a grand jury handed down 56 indictments charging Ryder with dozens of counts of larceny and five counts of improper disposal of a human body and today, he was arraigned on those charges.Last May, Ryder's funeral home on Lamb Street in South Hadley was shut down after an investigation found health code violations.The disturbing discovery included five bodies in various states of decomposition after not being properly embalmed.Investigators said dozens of customers had lost a total of nearly $400,000 in pre-paid funeral expenses that were paid to the funeral home.Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the Northwestern district attorney's office, said the larceny indictments allege that Ryder embezzled a total of $375,180 from 70 customers who thought they had purchased pre-need funeral arrangements from Ryder.

Instead, prosecutors allege, Ryder funneled the money into his own business account.

The thefts allegedly happened between 2001 and 2014.

The improper disposition charges allege that Ryder failed to embalm and properly store five bodies in May 2014.During Ryder's arraignment Wednesday, a not guilty plea was entered. He was released on personal recognizance with conditions including reporting to probation once a week and stay away from any drug or alcohol use.

Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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