Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Remains of dozens of fetuses removed from Detroit funeral home

Exterior of the former Cantrell Funeral Home building is seen on Monday Oct. 15 2018 in Detroit. An anonymously written letter led Michigan inspectors to find badly decomposed remains of 11 infants hidden in a ceiling compartment of the shuttered Detroi Remains of over 60 infants and fetuses discovered in Detroit funeral home
Ellis Copeland | 21 October, 2018, 03:02

Police removed the remains of 63 fetuses from a Detroit funeral home and regulators shuttered the business amid a widening investigation of alleged improprieties at local funeral homes.

Speaking to reporters on the night of that discovery, a police sergeant attributed to bodies' condition to "just the callousness of the owner, the operators, the employees of the funeral home".

"This is deeply disturbing", Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters on Friday.

Inside, on Friday afternoon, they found "three unrefrigerated boxes containing the remains of a total of approximately 36 deceased bodies of fetuses or infants", according to a statement from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, "plus a deep freezer containing an unknown number of additional deceased bodies".

Some had been dead since 2015.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the state's regulatory agency, made a decision to close the funeral home and suspend its license after making the discovery, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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LARA now has an open investigation into Perry Funeral Home and has notified the Michigan Attorney General's office and the Detroit Police Department of its findings and regulatory actions.

An official with Perry Funeral Home, which offers burial and cremation services, declined to comment on the incident.

Chief Craig said there appeared to be no connection between the two funeral homes, but says the tips and allegations that fetuses have not been properly disposed of, are similar.

Several cremated remains were found by cleaning crews at the former Cantrell Funeral Home where mummified remains of 10 fetuses were discovered last week in a ceiling.

The agency's statement said Friday's findings point clearly toward criminal offences of state laws regulating funeral homes that could be felonies "punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than (US)$50,000 or both". In some cases, the home embalmed remains without the knowledge or consent of the families, the department said.

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