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Remains Of 11 Infants Found In Former Funeral Home's Ceiling

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Although death is an inevitable part of life, it's understandable to be afraid of our impending doom.

Sadly, we're not all guaranteed the same amount of time on Earth, which can be devastating if the deceased is only a child.

It's always a tragedy if a youngster passes away and the least we can do is give them a proper funeral and burial.

However, there are distressing situations when bodies aren't treated with dignity, which was what happened when law enforcement found the remains of 11 babies in a closed-down Detroit funeral home.

"That's when they observed the box and casket and called 911."

Six months after the Cantrell Funeral Home was shut down due to "deplorable conditions," inspectors from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) found the tiny bodies after receiving an anonymous tip on October 13.

"[LARA] received an anonymous letter describing exactly where the remains were," Detroit police Lt. Brian Bowser said at a press conference, as reported by WXYZ-TV. "They went right to the location "” you have to climb up a ladder to look "” and that's when they observed the box and casket and called 911."

"They're very small remains," he continued. "We have to find out what happened, and why it happened."

Authorities discovered the remains of 11 infants and stillborn babies, which were tucked away in a drop-down ceiling between the first and second story of the establishment.

It was set to be transformed into a community center, according to WDIV-TV.

Bowser said that all of the bodies were all found in a cardboard box and multiple trash bags placed in a small casket.

"We will use the evidence gathered today to add to our open investigation."

Officer Vanessa Burt said the entire building had been searched but nothing else was found. She said that Wayne County Medical Examiner is in the midst of conducting an autopsy report.

They have already identified some of the infants and are working on notifying their family members, Bowser added at the press conference..

Lt. Brian Bowser
Lt. Brian BowserWXYZ-TV

Following the press conference, LARA's communications director Jason Moon said in that the bodies were found decomposing state.

"Based on a new complaint, LARA investigators today searched Cantrell Funeral Home and found the decomposing bodies of 11 infants. 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."

In April, LARA shut down Cantrell Funeral Home for multiple violations, such as improper storage of embalmed bodies, which were found "badly decomposed and covered in mold," Fox 2 Detroit reported.

"If I had them in the funeral home then my funeral home wouldn't smell fresh."

At the time, the funeral home's owner, Raymond Cantrell, admitted he had stored bodies in the building in an effort to help the families who couldn't afford to bury their children.

"If I had them in the funeral home then my funeral home wouldn't smell fresh," Cantrell told the news outlet. "So yes, they are embalmed and serviced 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."

"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."

Although Cantrell acknowledged he had improperly stored the bodies, he didn't reveal how long they had been placed in the ceiling.

He has yet to be charged.


Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these infants during this devastating time.

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