ABC News(DETROIT) — In a disturbing discovery, the bodies of 11 deceased infants were found in the ceiling of a shuttered funeral home in Detroit on Friday.
The bodies were found in bags, most in a cardboard box and others stuffed in a small coffin, police said.
The discovery was made after the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), which licenses funeral homes, was sent an anonymous letter Friday afternoon, which described exactly where the remains could be found.
"It's just the callousness of the operators, the owners, the employees of the funeral home [that stands out]," Detroit Police Department Lt. Brian Bowser said at a press conference Friday night. "The inspectors from LARA located the boxes, or the one box and the casket, and they subsequently called 911. The police responded, they removed the box and the casket from the false ceiling, or the lowered ceiling, and they opened them up and obviously they discovered the remains."
"They were actually in a cardboard box, nine of the 11 — they're very small remains," Bowser continued. "They were in a cardboard box stuffed away from a stairwell."
Bowser said they have names of some of the deceased infants and the medical examiner will conduct an investigation.
The Cantrell Funeral Home was shut down in April due to a number of disturbing violations, according to Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ.
Violations included dirty floors, peeling paint, mold, improper storage of embalmed bodies, with one in "advanced stage of decomposition," and fraud, deceit, or dishonesty, incompetence, and gross negligence in the practice of mortuary science." LARA called the violations "deplorable" at the time.
The Detroit Police Department will continue to investigate the discovery Friday and had cadaver dogs searching the property, Bowser said.
"Obviously we have to find out what happened, and why it happened," he said.
LARA released a statement to WXYZ explaining the discovery and the April violations.
"Based on a new complaint, LARA investigators today searched Cantrell Funeral Home and found the decomposing bodies of 11 infants," the statement said. "We then immediately contacted local authorities. In April, LARA suspended the mortuary licenses of both the home and its manager Jameca LaJoyce Boone for many violations including the improper storage of decomposing bodies of adult and infants. That suspension order remains in effect as does our investigation. We will use the evidence gathered today to add to our open investigation and will continue to work with local law enforcement as this case proceeds."
The property has been sold and the new owners plan to turn it into a community center, according to WXYZ.
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