Special task force begins probe into mishandling of remains at Detroit funeral homes

Investigating possible fraud


DETROIT – A special task force made up of state, federal and local investigators is investigating the mishandling of remains at a Detroit funeral home.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the task force will focus on Perry Funeral Home, where 63 fetuses were discovered. Detroit police are taking the lead on the investigation into the Cantrell Funeral Home, where 11 remains were found hidden in a compartment in the ceiling.

The task force met Monday to assess progress. Detroit police and Michigan State police were looking at possible criminality. The FBI was there to help follow money trails, looking into possible fraud allegations.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs offered expertise in how a funeral home is supposed to operate. Officials with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office were there to hear what everyone's been able to uncover so far.

The two areas getting the most scrutiny are how the remains were mishandled and allegations of fraud.

"There are other issues that have emerged, allegations of criminality with the Perry matter. And that's why we have a task force focusing on Perry," Craig said.

Cantrell Funeral Home is not out of the woods. Craig said there's a lot of work to do.

"We're not going to have people in cuffs tomorrow. And we may not, but we are pursuing criminal allegations and we'll follow the evidence," Craig said.

One of the most daunting tasks of the investigation is meeting with all the relatives of the remains found at Perry Funeral Home. It is a highly emotional and time consuming task.

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