Oct. 13 (UPI) — State investigators have found the bodies of 11 infants in the ceiling of a former Detroit funeral home, police said.
The remains were discovered hours after state inspectors received an anonymous letter, “detailing the existence or the whereabouts of numerous remains, human remains inside the funeral home,” Detroit Police Lieutenant Brian Bowser said at a press conference.
Inspectors of the Michigan Department Licensing and Regulatory Affairs received the letter at approximately 2:30 p.m. Friday, and inspectors went to the Cantrell Funeral Home on Detroit’s east side, Bowser said. The current owner, Naveed Syed, let them inside, and they found boxes and small casket in the ceiling, Bowser said. Syed, who plans to turn the former funeral home into a community center, said he called police after the remains were discovered.
Police eventually found “11 remains of infants, stillborns,” Bowser said, adding an investigation followed.
Michigan state cadaver dogs have looked for more bodies, but not have been found any more, he added.
“We do have names of some of the remains, and we’re going to do follow up with medical examiner,” he said to identify remains.
State inspectors had shut down the funeral home in April after inspectors found several violations including decomposing remains and “deplorable conditions,” WDIV reported.
Among the violations that led LARA to suspend the mortuary science establishment license, inspectors previously found decomposing bodies stored in an non-refrigerated garage in a filthy back room.
“Some of the bodies had a tag on referring back to 2009, some had receipts on them as if the person or family didn’t finish paying,” Detroit Police Lieutenant Demps said.
Former funeral home owner Raymond Cantrell told Local 4he did not order employees to hide bodies.
“On behalf of my family I’m really sorry that it happened and totally appalled,” Cantrell said. “The fact it occurred. I’m just thanking God it wasn’t something I had any involvement in.”