Former funeral home owner responds after bodies of 11 infants found in building

Anonymous tip led to discovery

DETROIT – The bodies of 11 babies were found in the ceiling of a former Detroit funeral home, according to Detroit police.

The remains were found after an anonymous tip was sent to state regulators Friday afternoon. When they searched the building they found the bodies hidden inside the ceiling.

ORIGINAL REPORT11 infant bodies found in former funeral home on Detroit's east side

State inspectors shut down the Cantrell Funeral Home on Mack Avenue in April after the discovery of several violations including decomposing remains and "deplorable conditions."

Detroit police said the remains of 11 infants were treated like garbage when the bodies were stuffed hidden in the ceiling.

"Nine infants were boxed together in a plain cardboard box, two were in a casket. It's just very disheartening right now," lieutenant James Demps with the Detroit police said.

MORE: 11 infant bodies found in former Detroit funeral home: Here's what we know

It was an anonymous tip that brought investigators to the building. The old funeral home was being renovated into a community center. The new owners opened the door for investigators and that's when they searched the building, finding the hidden compartment in the ceiling.

"Some of the bodies had a tag on referring back to 2009, some had receipts on them as if the person or family didn't finish paying," Demps said.

Raymond Cantrell, the former owner of the funeral home, spoke to Local 4 on the phone.

"I didn't go and try to discover things. I was trying to go handling things at hand," Cantrell said.

Cantrell said he did not order his employees to hide bodies.

"On behalf of my family I'm really sorry that it happened and totally appalled. The fact it occurred. I'm just thanking God it wasn't something I had any involvement in," he said.

Detroit police detectives want to talk to Cantrell. He now lives out of state but said he's willing to speak to police if they call him.

About the Authors:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.