Detroit police launch criminal investigation into Cantrell Funeral Home

It will be difficult to identify decomposed bodies

DETROIT – There is brand-new information on the Detroit funeral home story making national headlines.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig detailed what investigators know about the 11 tiny bodies found inside the ceiling of the shuttered funeral home

We now know of the 11 remains found stashed in the ceiling of the former Cantrell Funeral Home, 10 of them were fetuses; there was one infant. 

The remains were discovered Friday night inside the building on Detroit’s east side.

The funeral home’s former owner said he had no idea they were there in the first place.

“In my 41 1/2 years, I have never heard of such a case,” said Craig. 

Those were powerful words from Detroit’s top cop on what he called a very unique case. 

“I did have a conversation with the attorney general's office and the prosecution office about our intent to pursue a criminal case,” said Craig. 

On Monday, Craig met with news reporters in response to the case that has gripped the city of Detroit. 

On Friday, Local 4 was at the Cantrell Funeral Home when police uncovered what they said were the bodies of 11 infants in the attic.

“What was described at the location was the 10 fetuses were in a cardboard box. I believe they were wrapped and then the full term infant was placed in a small coffin,” said Craig. 

On Monday, the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office started autopsies on the infants. 

Dr. Daniel Spitz, from the Macomb County Medical Examiner's office said identifying the bodies will be nearly impossible.

“You’re not able to use the normal means that you do with typical medical examiner’s cases which would be visual identification. That’s not going to be helpful.  Fingerprints are not going to be helpful.  Dental records are not going to be helpful. Really, you’re left with using what records might be available,” said Spitz. 

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