Canton Township cemetery shut down as part of funeral home investigation

State shut down cemetery after 'imminent threat' to public health, safety

DETROIT – Police removed 44 mishandled infant and fetal remains from cemeteries in Detroit and Canton Township as the criminal investigation into Perry Funeral Home in Detroit continues to grow.

Shannon Silva went to Knollwood Cemetery in Canton after learning the state shut down Knollwood for an "imminent threat" to public health and safety.

READPerry Funeral Home investigation: Infant, fetal remains removed from Metro Detroit cemetery crypts

"My son was (a) full-term infant. He was buried here in 2016," Silva said. "So we are very concerned right now."

The Canton cemetery's license is suspended. A tip led investigators to Knollwood, where they discovered 345 fetal remains and one adult in a vault. They determined 27 infant and fetal bodies had missing paperwork and were not stored properly.

The uncremated remains link back to the ongoing probe at Perry Funeral Home, where 63 fetuses were found in boxes and warm freezers in October.

The cemetery can't operate because the state said it "aided and abetted" Perry in storing the bodies.

Police said they found a similar problem at Gethsemane Cemetery on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit. Detroit police Chief James Craig said they found 17 fetuses with no paperwork and that were not properly stored.

"I would have never imagined a case like this," he said.

Silva would have never thought she would be left wondering if her child is part of the investigation.

"I'm just praying to God that he isn't one of those babies and for any of those families that might be dealing with the same thought as us."

Here is a statement from Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs spokesperson Jason Moon:

"Based on information gathered during the course of LARA’s investigation into Perry Funeral Home in Detroit, state regulators conducted an onsite inspection of Knollwood Cemetery in Canton last night. We are currently exploring possible regulatory actions against the facility and have an open investigation.

"Also as part of the Perry investigation, LARA notified Detroit Police regarding possible issues at Gethsemane Cemetery in Detroit. Gethsemane is a municipal cemetery owned by the City of Detroit and LARA has no regulatory oversight of the establishment. LARA regulators did assist Detroit Police yesterday in their inspection of the cemetery. All other questions regarding Gethsemane should be directed to Detroit Police."

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