A week after 11 infant bodies were found hidden in the ceiling of a former Detroit funeral home, the remains of over 60 infants were found at a second funeral home, according to authorities.
On Friday, the Detroit Police Department and inspectors from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) said they found the remains of 63 infant bodies, some of whom had been dead since 2015, at Perry Funeral Home.
The bodies of about 37 fetuses or infants were found in three unrefrigerated boxes, while 26 were found in a freezer, the DPD said in press releases. The funeral home has been shut down and its license is suspended.
LARA said that the funeral home had failed to certify or file death certificates “for the dead bodies of the fetuses and infants for whom they assumed custody with the appropriate governmental authority within 72 hours of death.”
According to the New York Times, “the discovery was prompted in part by a lawsuit filed in July,” in which a woman claimed that the remains of her daughter, who died shortly after her birth, ended up at the funeral home. The outlet reported the mother had wanted her daughter’s remains to “be given to Wayne State University Medical School for research or educational purposes.”
Additionally, the lawsuit claimed that the Perry Funeral Home wrongly indicated on a death certificate that her daughter’s remains had been buried in a cemetery, according to the Times.
At a press conference on Friday, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said that they are investigating the discovery, but at this point they believe “there is no connection” between Perry Funeral Home and Cantrell Funeral Home, where the bodies of 11 infants and stillborns had been discovered earlier this month.
“It’s very disturbing,” he said, before adding that even after the second discovery, he hoped the problem “was isolated to these two [funeral homes].”
He also confirmed that so far no charges have been filed so far.
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In April, six months before 11 infant bodies were discovered hidden in the ceiling, Cantrell Funeral home was shut down after state officials discovered bodies that were “badly decomposed and covered in mold,” reported Fox 2 Detroit. At the time, owner Raymond Cantrell admitted to storing the bodies to help customers who could not afford a proper burial.
“If I had them in the funeral home then my funeral home wouldn’t smell fresh,” Cantrell told the local outlet. “So yes, they are embalmed and serviced [and] we put them in the garage.”
“Those who have asked me to hold their loved ones will know I was doing them a favor to accommodate them,” he continued. “For those that weren’t, like the many of the cremated they are trying to take from here or that they are taking from here. Those individuals we called we’ve tried to notify and they haven’t been picked up.”
Following the discovery earlier this month, a cadaver unit dog was brought in but no additional bodies were found.