Families speak out in support of those affected by Cantrell Funeral Home discovery

Cantrell facing civil suits

By Jermont Terry - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

DETROIT - Fallout is still coming in after the discovery of babies' remains in a former funeral home on Detroit's east side.

Ten fetuses and one full-term infant were found Friday, hidden in the ceiling. Another fetus was found in August.

The Wayne County medical examiner said it could take weeks or months to identify the remains. The chief medical examiner believes records exist but the identification depends on their availability.

The business was shut down in April when bodies were found to be improperly stored.

Families who've dealt with the funeral home are speaking out -- in support of the families were are now dealing with the same pain.

People trusted Cantrell Funeral Home, but now those families believe greed overshadowed the respect their loved ones deserved.

Many wonder how the parents of the 10 fetuses and one infant found at the funeral home are coping. Yolanda Brewer has lived through a similar nightmare.

"I know they hurting badly because it's hurting me. It hurt me worse about these kids than my sister," Brewer said.

Brewer prefers to remember her sister, Leila Brewer, with smiles.

"I still cry today for her," she said.

The tears are combined with the pain of losing a family member and the reality of how long it took to get her sister properly buried.

Leila was buried on Aug. 16. An obituary shows Brewer had a funeral at Cantrell Funeral Home on Jan. 12, 2018. The Cantrell location offered payment plans but on the day of the service Yolanda said they told her her sister would not be buried immediately.

"I asked, 'are you going to put her back on ice since you're not going to bury her?' He said 'yes, just bring me the rest of the money'."

Receipts show she was making payments. When Cantrell was shut down in April her sister's body was among 21 removed for improper storage.

Yolanda watched that day in horror. It took all those months to get Leila identified and into her final resting place. So when Yolanda heard about the discovery last week at Cantrell, she was devasted.

"I lost my mind. Not only did he hurt me, my sister and family, but to turn around and find little baby bodies in the ceiling was so wrong," she said.

As the criminal investigation continues into how her sister's body and those infants, Yolanda prays for justice for everyone.

"They were just getting money. That's the only thing it could have been. To be putting people bodies anywhere," she said.

Cantrell Funeral Home was hit with the first of what's likely to be many civil suits Tuesday.

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