News

Actions

$10M lawsuit brought against Cantrell Funeral by parents of identified infant hidden inside home

Posted: 10:22 PM, Oct 31, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-01 12:26:26-04

The parents of an infant whose remains were found inside the shuttered Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit are suing for $10 million, according to court records.

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of Whitney Morris and AJ Johnson by Attorney Bill Colovos, alleges that Harper-Hutzel Hospital and Cantrell Funeral Home were "negligent" and wrongfully handled the human remains of their infant child.

The parents of the child, who is only referred to as "baby boy Morris" in court documents, say that the infant was stillborn with a birth date of Sept. 14, 2011. The parents allege the stillbirth was due to neglect from hospital staff during the mother's labor.

Following funeral arrangements that were made, the defendants – Harper-Hutzel Hospital and Cantrell Funeral Home – were unable to locate the remains of the infant for burial.

It states in the lawsuit that the plaintiff contacted Cantrell Funeral Home to perform burial services.

After funeral arrangements were finalized, the plaintiff states that she began contacting the hospital to have the baby's body released to Cantrell Funeral Home. The lawsuit alleges the hospital claimed Cantrell had already taken possession of the body. When the plaintiff contacted Cantrell, she was told the hospital still had the body.

At that point, the plaintiff said that she had to "track down" her child's body.  

Three years later, the plaintiff was contacted by staff from Harper-Hutzel Hospital – which had gone under new management – about her son's remains, which had been located and cremated along with other babies that were "left at the hospital."

On Oct. 24, the plaintiff says she was visited by officers from the Detroit Police Department and Michigan State Police to inform her that her child's remains were among those found inside the shuttered Cantrell Funeral Home.

This is not the first lawsuit brought against the closed Detroit funeral home. 

A Southfield law firm brought a lawsuit against the home on behalf of a Detroit woman who claims her husband's remains were "improperly handled by the now closed Cantrell Funeral Home on Mack Avenue in Detroit."

Investigations are ongoing after 11 infant remains were found in the ceiling of Cantrell Funeral Home in early October. As of now, officials are continuing to work on identifying the remains of those infants found. 

You can read the lawsuit in full below: 

Morris, Whitney -Complaint-Baby Boy Morris-Cantrell-Court Filed Copy by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd