Official: More remains could be found at closed Cantrell funeral home

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Detroit Police Chief James Craig spoke about the criminal investigation ongoing at the former Cantrell Funeral Home.

That came after the discovery of 11 fetuses and more remains this week. There are two investigations ongoing - one by the state which is regulatory as well as the city's police investigation. 

"I don't understand how that happened," said Troy Artist, who buried his father using Cantrell. "How did they get all those bodies in there."

That is one of the questions that Craig is asking Thursday - along with plenty of others.

Remains of four more bodies found at Cantrell Funeral Home

 "The fact these fetuses were concealed in an attic - why was that,' Craig said. "There's an appropriate way to dispose of remains, how did they acquire the remains, those are questions we don't do the parents know?

"Did the parents of these fetuses know that this business had them? If so, why."

Eleven fetal remains were stuffed in an attic discovered last Friday after Cantrell was shut down back in April for having moldy and deteriorating bodies. This led the regulatory investigation to turning criminal. 

"Another concern we have certainly, are there others doing this," Craig said.

Bodies of 11 babies found in ceiling of closed Detroit funeral home

The homicide task force is investigating, interviewing witnesses. The four cremated remains discovered by cleaners with the new building ownership this week prompted more questions.

"I got concerned initially because I thought did we go to this location and miss another fetus or body - and that was not the case," the chief said.

FOX 2: "Do we think as the crews clean up they'll find additional remains?"

"That's a great question," said Julia Dale, of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. "On Friday when we were there, the state police provided a cadaver dog to come through the facility. A learning lesson for me is that a cadaver dog isn’t going to detect cremates.

"Is it possible that as they do ongoing demolition, there could be more? Certainly, given what we've seen."

Dale walked us through some of Cantrell's history with many violations going back to the late 1990's with improper embalming and some cases where embalming was not done in a timely manner. There was also questions whether families were getting the services that they paid for.


Below is a summary  of available records regarding previous state regulatory actions against Cantrell Funeral Home prior to 2017.  
• 9/12/96: Unknown fine amount imposed against Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc.’s Prepaid registration.

• 8/23/99: $1,500 fine imposed against Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc., based on statement of complaint alleging unlicensed individuals were performing embalming services.

• 5/10/00: Final order against Raymond Cantrell, II with $1,000 fine imposed and paid 8/8/00. Complaint alleged failure to timely embalm a body, incompetence and gross negligence.

• 9/7/00: Inspection of Cantrell Funeral Home performed based on statement of complaint. Found eleven bodies housed off of the preparation room, including one infant. Interviewed Raymond Cantrell, II.

• 10/17/01: Re-Inspection of Cantrell Funeral Home performed. 10 of 11 bodies were buried, but 11th body, a baby who died in 1997 and remained unclaimed by the family with a balance due.  Funeral home would not bury the baby. Advisory letter issued regarding poor condition of preparation room.

• 7/3/02: Raymond Cantrell, II’s mortuary science license placed on probation, fined $6,000, and required to make restitution of $41,456.12. Fine not collected from Treasury until 1/31/17, and proof of restitution not provided until 11/17/16. License suspended until 8/1/17 per Final Order.

• 10/12/04: $10,000 fine imposed against Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc., based on statement of complaint alleging unlicensed activity of individuals working at establishment. Resolved by settlement