Michigan funeral home forced to close after moldy bodies, 'deplorable conditions' found

A Detroit funeral home was forced to close Wednesday after inspectors found decomposed bodies covered in what appeared to be mold.

Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) inspectors found “deplorable, unsanitary conditions and other violations” at the Cantrell Funeral Home earlier this month after a complaint was made, the agency said.

Two bodies were found “in an advanced stage of decomposition, covered in what appeared to be mold,” inspectors said. Another body’s face was “covered in unknown fluids,” they said. The bodies had been in the funeral home’s possession since January and February.

An undisclosed number of bodies were found in an “unrefrigerated garage” and had been stored there since November or December, inspectors said.

The embalming room was also found to be “unsanitary” with water-stained walls, unsanitary gear and unclean floors, inspectors said.

All of the bodies and cremains have been retrieved from the funeral home and are being stored in a safe, proper facility, the state’s Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing (CSCL) bureau director, Julia Dale, told Fox News.

A log of the bodies was not kept, but CSCL is working to notify family members about loved ones who have been retrieved from the funeral home, she said.

"We want to reassure people that their loved ones are in a safe place and stored appropriately," Dale said.

It is unclear why the funeral home kept the bodies for as long as it did, Dale said, although some may have been kept due to a payment situation.

"That is something we are continuing to investigate," she said.

The mortuary science establishment license of Cantrell Funeral Homes has been suspended, LARA said. The agency also suspended the individual mortuary science license for Jameca LaJoyce Boone, the funeral home’s designated manager, it said.

"We want to reassure people that their loved ones are in a safe place and stored appropriately."

— Julia Dale, CSCL director

It is possible additional charges could be brought as the investigation continues. Dale said her office is "planning to make referrals to the appropriate law enforcement authorities."

It is a criminal misdemeanor under the Michigan Penal Code for “the failure or refusal to properly supervise the final disposition of a dead human body after agreeing to provide the services of a funeral director within 60 days of receiving the body,” LARA said.

“Michigan residents trust funeral home directors, owners and their establishments to follow the law, especially when dealing with the death of a loved one,” Dale said. “We will continue to aggressively hold every funeral home in Michigan to the highest standards of public health and safety when providing final arrangements.”

Cantrell Funeral Homes has 60 days to either cancel its prepaid contracts and issue refunds or assign the contracts to another licensed funeral home.

A call to Cantrell Funeral Homes by Fox News went unanswered.