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11 baby bodies found in abandoned Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit

Authorities say the bodies of 11 babies have been found in a funeral home that was closed six months ago.

Construction workers made a gruesome discovery as they worked to transform a funeral home into a community centre on Friday.

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs spokesman Jason Moon says inspectors were called to the Cantrell Funeral Home on the city’s east side.

Detroit police say eight or nine bodies were found in a cardboard box and the others in one or more caskets, all hidden in a ceiling. Police ordered a search of the building to ensure there are no additional bodies inside.

The abandoned Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, Michigan.The abandoned Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, Michigan.
Camera IconThe abandoned Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, Michigan.

The regulatory agency suspended the license of the funeral home in April after inspectors found decomposing embalmed bodies and other violations. Violations also included two improperly stored bodies covered in what appeared to be mould and a third body with unknown fluids covering the facial area.

The inspectors showed up by surprise and were at first denied entry; once inside they found more than minor violations.

Bodies from 2017 had been kept in an unrefrigerated garage. Other embalmed bodies that were improperly stored for months were covered with mould. The inspectors also alleged the owners had mishandled funds, and suspended the funeral home’s license.

The home’s owner, Raymond Cantrell, told Fox 2 Detroit in an April interview that he’d taken over the funeral home in 2017 and was doing “a favor to accommodate” customers who couldn’t pay.

“If I had them in the funeral home then my funeral home wouldn’t smell fresh,” Cantrell told Fox then.

“So yes they are embalmed and serviced [and] we put them in the garage.”

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