The remains of 11 infants were discovered in Michigan Friday after authorities received an anonymous tip, sending them to a shuttered funeral home in Detroit.
The Cantrell Funeral Home was closed down in April after inspectors with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) found the facility to be in violation of numerous codes, including the improper storage of embalmed bodies, the Detroit Free Press reported.
LARA, whose staff tipped police off to the decomposing bodies discovered Friday, described the condition of the facility as “unsanitary” and “deplorable.”
Lt. Brian Bowser of the Detroit Police Department told reporters Friday night the bodies were found in a box and a coffin hidden in a drop ceiling between the first and second floors of the former funeral home.
“[LARA] received an anonymous letter describing exactly where the box was, where the remains were,” he told WXYZ-TV. “They went right to the location — you’ve gotta climb up a ladder to look — and that’s when they observed the box and the casket, and they called 9-1-1-.”
Jameca LaJoyce Boone, who managed the funeral home for roughly a year before it was shuttered, said she did not know about the bodies hidden in the ceiling.
“This is horrific, and it’s unethical,” she said. “I don’t understand how it happened or why it happened, and I’m just at a loss for words. That’s not how the funeral industry operates.”
As for the owner of the closed funeral home, Raymond Cantrell, he denied all responsibility.
“On behalf of my family, I’m really sorry that it happened and totally appalled,” he told WDIV-TV. “The fact it occurred. I’m just thanking God it wasn’t something I had any involvement in.”