A second funeral home in Detroit has been found to have held the improperly kept remains of born and unborn infants.
According to CNN, the Detroit Police Department found the remains of 63 infants at Perry Funeral Home on Friday. This comes just a week after the decomposed bodies of 11 infants were found at a different building in Detroit, which used to be the Cantrell Funeral Home.
CNN reported that the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said that inspectors searched the Perry funeral home in response to a complaint.
According to The New York Times, the discovery of the bodies may have been set off by a woman whose daughter, Alayah Laniece Davis, died soon after she was born in a hospital in December 2014.
The mother filed a lawsuit in July of this year claiming that her daughter’s remains ended up in the custody of Perry Funeral Home without her knowledge and against her wishes.
According to the lawsuit, the funeral home indicated that the baby’s remains had been buried in a cemetery, while they actually were still kept unburied in a morgue.
The New York Times reported that when news of the bodies found at the Cantrell Funeral Home reached Alayah’s family, it prompted their lawyer to share concerns about Perry Funeral Home with the police.
The Detroit Police Department said that some of the 63 unburied bodies are of infants who died years ago.
Police said that 37 of the infants’ corpses were discovered crammed into three unrefrigerated boxes, and 26 were found in a freezer.
On Friday, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suspended Perry Funeral Home’s mortuary science license because of “multiple violations of Michigan’s public health and occupational codes and an imminent threat to the public health and safety.”
Licensing and Regulatory Affairs also said that the funeral home was found to be lacking in certifying and filing 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.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said his department is beginning a deep investigation. As of Saturday, authorities said no charges have been filed.
“I am committed to get to the truth,” Craig said in a news conference on Friday. “This is deeply disturbing.”
Check out coverage of the story from Star TV here.
CNN reported that according to Michigan law, funeral directors usually have to oversee a corpse’s final disposition within 60 days of obtaining the body. Failing to do so may count as a misdemeanor at least, punishable by up to 90 days in prison. Improperly holding a body past 180 days could count as a felony punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.
In Friday’s news conference, Craig said that at the time the police did not know of any connection between the two Detroit funeral homes, but that officials were working to form a task force to investigate the surrounding area’s practices of storing human remains.
“This is larger than we might know,” he said.
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