Authorities first heard about the bodies in October 2000, not April 2001 as reported recently by some media, Wilson said Wednesday. Law enforcement received reports about the crematory in October 2000, November 2001 and February 2002.
Gerald Cook saw bodies while delivering gas to the crematory in October 2000, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The discovery was reported to the sheriff’s department at that time.
The Environmental Protection Agency gave the sheriff’s department another tip in November 2001 when Fay Deal, a secretary in the Rossville FBI office and Cook’s aunt, reported finding a human bone while she was walking by the crematory, according to The Journal.
In February, Deal again called the EPA. The agency dispatched investigators who began the process of recovering 339 bodies.
When asked why no action was taken, Wilson said his office received two separate complaints — one from a man claiming to have seen dead bodies and an anonymous tip that a dog found a human bone.
Crematory operator Ray Brent Marsh, 29, faces 333 charges of theft by deception and 64 counts of abuse of a corpse. He has been released on bond and remains under house arrest.
The Associated Press contributed to this article