Ray Barnes (Jed Kirschbaum )
Loyd Ray Barnes Jr., a forensic examiner who founded Crime Scene Clean-Up Inc., died of respiratory failure Nov. 18 at City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va. He was 48 and had lived in Forest Hill.
Born in Baltimore and known as Ray, he was raised in Parkville. He graduated from Parkville Senior High School in 1980 and then joined the Army.
He became a forensic investigator for the Maryland Medical Examiner's Office in downtown Baltimore and later in a similar capacity in Harford County. He worked closely with former chief medical examiner Dr. John Smialek, family members said.
"My brother went on to become a skillful and knowledgeable forensic expert and consultant," said his sister, Cathi Harris of Fulton, Mo.
After dealing with a personal family tragedy, the suicide of his grandfather, Mr. Barnes created and co-founded a business called Crime Scene Clean-Up with his former wife, Louise.
The business became widely known in the media. He was interviewed on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and was profiled in The Baltimore Sun and other newspapers. He also appeared in several episodes of "Homicide: Life on the Streets." He portrayed an orderly pushing a gurney at the medical examiner's office.
A 1996 Sun story described his business as a "venture that's flourishing in the violent '90s. Born of ever-rising crime rates, the firm has carved out its own grisly market niche since its beginning in early 1994. It specializes in mopping up after murders, suicides and decomposed remains. During their rounds, the Barneses have wiped brain matter out of a car's ashtray, collected body parts scattered along railroad tracks, and cleaned up a pool of blood so large that a house's floorboards had to be torn up."
The story explained that police and fire officials are not responsible for cleaning up after a crime scene and that traditional maid services normally won't deal with blood and other infectious waste.
"The Barneses have stepped in to fill a business void that's not for the faint of heart," the article said.
"A lot of people would say I'm a ghoul for doing this," Mr. Barnes said. "But I'm not pale and clammy and hunched over like some freak. I'm very much into life. It's a necessary service, and I am able to provide it."
"People ask us how we do this sort of thing," he told a Sun reporter. "But I don't get emotionally involved on the job. We don't know the people, they are not family members, and we look at it as being there to perform a service."
He also founded other businesses that specialized in forensic follow-up, mold remediation, hoarding cleanup, meth-lab dismantling and other issues.
Mr. Barnes was a dog fancier and had two miniature Schnauzers: Sir Winston and Lady Isabella. His sister said he enjoyed telling jokes, doing impressions and performing karaoke. He also liked country music and collecting cars.
From July 2009 until his death, Mr. Barnes participated in Alcoholics Anonymous. He also sought treatment and rehabilitation at the Tuerke House in West Baltimore.
He had lived in Fallston and Forest Hill and moved to West Virginia several months ago.
Graveside services were held Nov. 22 at Parkwood Cemetery.
In addition to his sister, survivors include his parents, Wayne and Carole Oden of Baltimore; and two daughters, Jackie Barnes and Kristi Barnes, and a son, Matt Barnes, all of Harford County. His marriage ended in divorce.