Michigan Medicine will no longer run Wayne County Morgue after Local 4 exposes long list of issues

Wayne County considers proposal from Wayne State to operate facility

Michigan Medicine will no longer run the Wayne County Morgue after a Local 4 investigation exposed a long list of issues, including decomposing bodies and the wrong person being buried.

DETROIT – Michigan Medicine will no longer run the Wayne County Morgue after a Local 4 investigation exposed a long list of issues, including decomposing bodies and the wrong person being buried.

Michigan Medicine had a five-year, $31 million contract to run the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, and a few months ago, it was trying to renew that contract. But now, that has all changed.

A morgue paperwork mistake led to one family’s loved one being cremated without their knowledge. In another instance, a woman said her daughter’s body was delivered to the funeral home with maggots in her mouth.

One family searched for a loved one for 18 months before learning that the body had been at the Wayne County Morgue the whole time without officials realizing it.

Months and months of investigations exposed wrongdoing, and now a Wayne County spokesperson tells Local 4 that when the current contract expires, the county doesn’t anticipate employing staff to operate the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The university was not prepared to make sure the residents of Wayne County and those who visit the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office were met with the best and highest quality,” Wayne County Commissioner Jonathan Kinloch said. “I think it was the best court of action for them to take.”

The county is considering a proposal from Wayne State University to operate the facility.

Michigan Medicine sent the following statement:

Here is a statement from the Wayne County Executive’s Office:


About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.