Police working to ID 11 infant bodies found in ceiling of former Detroit funeral home

Posted at 10:12 AM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 11:22:17-04

Detroit police and the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office are working to identify the bodies of 11 infants and stillborns who were found in the ceiling of a former funeral home on Detroit's east side Friday night.

Officers say the remains were found in boxes and two small caskets at the Cantrell Funeral Home.

The property's current owner, Naveed Syed, says he called police after making the shocking discovery.

It's not clear how long the remains had been there, but he says he was told at least one of the bodies had been there since 2009. Investigators are now working to identify the remains.

The Cantrell Funeral home was shut down this past April due to several violations and "deplorable, unsanitary conditions."  Investigators found bodies not stored properly, including at least least two that reportedly appeared to be covered in mold. 

Syed is now converting the former funeral home into a community center.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is also investigating this disturbing case. 

LARA reported Cantrell Funeral Home had 60 days to either assign its existing prepaid contracts to another person registered under the Prepaid Act and notify the Department and contract buyers of the assignment within 30 days of the assignment.

The funeral home's other option was to cancel their current contracts and issue refunds to each contract buyer, providing copies of refund checks and correspondence to each contract buyer to the Department within 90 days, unless the Department modifies, vacates, or extends the terms of the Order.

A spokesperson from LARA has released this statement regarding their investigation:

“Based on a new complaint, LARA investigators today searched Cantrell Funeral Home and found the decomposing bodies of 11 infants. We then immediately contacted local authorities. In April, LARA suspended the mortuary licenses of both the home and its manager Jameca LaJoyce Boone for many violations including the improper storage of decomposing bodies of adult and infants. That suspension order remains in effect as does our investigation. We will use the evidence gathered today to add to our open investigation and will continue to work with local law enforcement as this case proceeds.”