The decomposed remains of 11 infants were found Friday in the ceiling of a former Detroit funeral home, authorities said.
Investigators with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs received an anonymous letter stating how to find the bodies, which were carefully hidden inside a false ceiling at the former Cantrell Funeral Home, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Some of the infants were apparently stillborn and inside a cardboard box hidden in a drop-down ceiling of a stairwell.
“Obviously, it was either an employee or someone who had knowledge” of the business and the building who hid the bodies, for unknown reasons, Detroit police Lt. Brian Bowser said.
After the bodies were found, police used a cadaver-trained police dog to search the building.
“We do have names for some of the remains and we’re going to try to contact the families,” Bowser added.
“We do have names for some of the remains and we’re going to try to contact the families.”
He did not know how long the bodies had been stored there or how old they were.
Investigators were looking to speak with the former funeral home’s owner, Raymond Cantrell.
The state shuttered the funeral home in April after finding multiple violations. Inspectors found that embalmed bodies had been stored for months in an unrefrigerated garage and other unsanitary areas, FOX 2 Detroit reported.
One body was kept from January to April before it was cremated, according to state officials.
Other violations include failing to deposit $21,000 in prepayments by at least 13 customers who signed contracts for future funeral services.
State investigators accused the funeral home’s operators of fraud, deceit, incompetence and gross negligence, according to an April report in its decision to close it down.
The successor to the closed funeral home operates as Cantrell Funeral Services, the paper said.
The firm’s answering service said none of the owners or managers was available for comment.
Its website praises Cantrell, saying:
“Our father, Raymond E. Cantrell, founder of Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, has provided excellent service for over 50 years. As the next generation of funeral directors, our goal is to continue in his footprints of quality, family-oriented and customer focused funeral service.”