Decaying Remains Of 11 Infants Found Hidden In The Ceiling Of A Funeral Home In Detroit

Published October 15, 2018

The remains were stored inside a cardboard box and multiple trash bags in a casket which was kept hidden inside a false ceiling between the funeral home's first and second floors.

Funeral Home False Ceiling

Junfu Han/Detroit Free PressThe false ceiling where the infants’ bodies were found.

An anonymous letter has led police to a gruesome discovery inside of a Detroit funeral home.

The remains of 11 infants were found in the ceiling of the former Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, Mich. on Oct. 12. Inspectors with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) found the remains shortly after the letter told them how to locate the bodies inside the building, according to the Associated Press.

“[LARA] received an anonymous letter describing exactly where the remains were,” Detroit Police Detective Lt. Brian Bowser said in a press conference reported on by WXYZ-TV. “They went right to the location – you have to climb up a ladder to look – and that’s when they observed the box and the casket and called 911.”

Interview with Lt. Brian Bowser.

The bodies found included those of infants and stillborn babies. The remains were stored inside a cardboard box and multiple trash bags in a casket which was kept hidden inside a false ceiling between the funeral home’s first and second floors.

The funeral home, located on Detroit’s east side, closed in April 2018 after state inspectors suspended its license for “deplorable conditions” after discovering at least two bodies covered in mold and others not stored properly, according to WXYZ-TV.

At this point, the police do not know how long the bodies had been stored in the ceiling or who put them there, but at least one of the bodies had been there since 2009. Bowser said that “obviously it was either an employee or someone who had knowledge” of the funeral home and its layout, according to the Associated Press.

Cantrell Funeral Home

Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press via APA Detroit Police vehicle parked outside the Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

Some of the infants’ remains have already been identified and officials are working on contacting their families. Their causes of death have not been released yet according to the Detroit News.

“The babies are at the Medical Examiner’s Office,” Lisa Croff, the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office spokeswoman, said. “The Medical Examiner’s Office will coordinate the efforts with the Detroit Police Department and the state, and other means to hopefully get them identified and families identified. We have very little to go on (without) cooperation from the funeral home owners.”

The funeral home was most recently operated by Raymond Cantrell II, who inherited the business from his father after he passed away in 2016. In the press conference, Bowser said that police plan on talking to Cantrell.

Jameca LaJoyce Boone was the manager of the funeral home for a year before it closed down and told the Detroit News that she was completely surprised by the discovery.

“I didn’t know anything about that,” Boone said. “I really don’t know how that could even have happened. I don’t know how long that’s been going on there… it’s very unfortunate and they definitely need to find out who put them there.”

Next, read the macabre story of Mitchelle Blair, the Detroit woman who tortured her children and then hid their bodies in a freezer for years. Then take a look at some staggering photos of abandoned Detroit buildings.

Caroline Redmond
Caroline is a writer and Florida-transplant currently living in New York City.