Medical examiner: Could take weeks, months to identify fetuses found at Detroit funeral home

Remains of 10 fetuses, 1 infant found in ceiling at shuttered funeral home

Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit (WDIV)

DETROIT - The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday it could take "take weeks or months" to identify all of the fetuses found at a defunct funeral home in Detroit

The remains of 10 fetuses and one infant were found Friday stashed in the ceiling of the former Cantrell Funeral Home. Police have launched a criminal investigation into this case as they work to find out why the remains were there and who is responsible. 

Meanwhile, the medical examiner faces the challenge of identifying all of the remains, which are in mummified conditions. 

"Due to the conditions of the remains, the best path toward positive identification is finding existing records. The fact that these remains reached a funeral home means there should be a record somewhere that can help lead us to identifying information," said Dr. Carl Schmidt, Wayne County’s chief medical examiner. 

This process could take more time than the average human remains identification process. 

“Most of the fetuses have some kind of identifying label from a hospital that we are hoping can help lead us to a positive identification,” said Schmidt. “The identification process will primarily rely on matching fetuses to funeral home paperwork or to medical records. We are working as quickly as possible, but the process could take weeks or months, depending on the information in the records, if they exist at all."

STORY: Mother wonders if son is among those discovered in former Cantrell Funeral Home

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