Investigators discovered the remains of 300 fetuses and infants stored in suburban Detroit in plastic containers at a local cemetery, according to NBC WNDU Channel 16.
According to the NBC affiliate, an inspection last week at Knollwood Memorial Park in Canton Township produced 27 plastic containers that held babies and fetuses in different stages of decomposition.
The majority of remains found came from Perry Funeral Home in Detroit, whose license was suspended several weeks ago after a separate investigation uncovered other babies in different stages of decomposition in the funeral home itself.
The state says the cemetery crypts were being used as temporary storage, but records reveal the remains should have been cremated or buried long ago – some as far back as 2009.
In October, investigators determined the possibility that upwards of 200 or more infant remains may be found in improper possession by Perry Funeral Home based on logs books kept by the Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the funeral home routinely deposited infant remains at the WSU school’s morgue, failing to follow up with parents’ wishes for their children’s remains to be used as research by the WSU School of Medicine.
In the previous investigation, 37 fetuses were found in cardboard boxes and 26 more in a freezer, according to police. The funeral home was immediately declared as closed and had their license suspended, according to a statement from Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, who found “heinous conditions and negligent conduct.”
Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said in a release that investigators found:
- Three unrefrigerated boxes containing the remains of a total of approximately 37 deceased bodies of fetuses or infants plus a deep freezer containing 26 additional deceased bodies. Some of the deceased had dates of death in 2015.
- Respondents failed to certify and 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.
- Absent any statutory exception, the failure or refusal to properly supervise the final disposition of a dead human body after agreeing to provide the services of a funeral director within 60 days of receiving the body is a criminal violation under Section 160c of the Michigan Penal Code.
- Respondents failed to secure permits for removal or burial of dead human bodies before interment or disposal.
- Respondents obtained possession or embalmed the dead human bodies of the fetuses and infants without first being expressly directed or authorized to do so by a relative of the deceased persons or a person entitled to custody
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A cardboard box located in the ceiling of the closed Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit was what originally led investigators to investigate Perry Funeral Home. On October 12th, the Detroit Police Department announced they found 9 of the 11 deceased infants in the cardboard box in the ceiling of the closed funeral home, with 2 other infant’s remains stuffed into a small coffin. The remains were located after an anonymous letter describing their location was sent to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.