Families demand answers after more remains found at funeral home

Detroit Police officers use crime scene tape to cordon off the area while they execute a search warrant at the Perry Funeral Home in Detroit on Friday Oct. 19 2018. Police removed the remains of 63 fetuses from the funeral home and regulators shuttered

Detroit Police officers use crime scene tape to cordon off the area while they execute a search warrant at the Perry Funeral Home in Detroit on Friday Oct. 19 2018. Police removed the remains of 63 fetuses from the funeral home and regulators shuttered

The next step in the Perry Funeral Home investigation is identifying the fetal remains found there Friday.

PHOTO: Lt. Brian Bowser, Detroit Police Department, briefed the media on the discovery of 11 bodies of infants found at a shuttered funeral home in Detroit on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has suspended the license of Gary Deak, the director of the funeral home, and has shut the facility down.

Authorities said they found remains of 63 infants and fetuses at the Perry Funeral Home, 36 of which were found in boxes and 27 in freezers.

"I've never seen anything (like this) in my 41 and a half years" said Police Chief James Craig at a news conference on Friday, adding: "It's disturbing, but we will get to the bottom of this".

Details about why the remains were being stored at Perry Funeral Home and the former Cantrell Funeral Home, or whether the cases are in any way related, weren't immediately available.

Attorneys for the parent said there could be as many as 200 at the funeral home, based on Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science log books.

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Authorities are conducting a criminal investigation, Craig said.

Investigators originally found the remains of 11 stillborn babies concealed in a funeral home's "false ceiling", after they received an anonymous letter tipping them off. Authorities discovered the remains after an anonymous letter arrived in the offices of state regulators in Lansing. The remains recovered on Friday are now in custody of the state.

"Perry Funeral Home has been serving the Detroit community for decades and has been a reputable, reliable and caring member of the community".

Perry Funeral Home also failed to certify and file death certificates for the bodies of fetuses and infants within 72 hours of death, according to LARA.

"A parent saw the story" about Cantrell in the news, Craig told reporters.

Failure of a funeral home to properly dispose of a dead body after more than 180 days is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

"In the case of unclaimed remains, a funeral home can not bury remains without proper authorization, and the law in MI sets forth a hierarchy for authority", Arnkoff said.

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