State officials: Canton cemetery improperly storing more than 300 infant, fetal remains in crypts

Knollwood Cemetery in Canton Township suspended by LARA

Knollwood Cemetery in Canton Township (WDIV)

CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - All new cemetery and crematory services at Knollwood Cemetery in Canton Township have been suspended due to multiple violations of state laws, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

An investigation into the cemetery began after it was linked to the Perry Funeral Home scandal in Detroit. LARA announced Thursday it was suspending the cemetery's license.

Improperly stored remains

On Tuesday, LARA officials said the cemetery is improperly storing more than 300 uncremated remains of infants and fetuses in multiple crypts. The remains dated as far back as 2009.

Officials said the remains were entombed collectively in multiple crypts that were repeatedly opened and added to by cemetery workers.

The remains were not buried or cremated, contrary to the final disposition indicated on forms, officials said.

The crypts were not bought by loved ones of the deceased but used as temporary storage until each crypt was full, officials said. When a crypt became full, cemetery workers would then take care of all the remains, LARA investigators said.

Uncremated remains were stored in plastic containers that were inadequately sealed with duct tape, officials said. Some of the containers were leaking fluid, according to LARA.

Most of the remains appeared to have been stored on behalf of Perry Funeral Home, LARA said.

Previous violations

LARA first searched Knollwood around 4 p.m. Thursday.

Inspectors found 345 fetuses and one adult at Knollwood Cemetery, police said. There were 27 violations due to improper burials.

All of the improperly handled remains were fetuses, officials said at the time.

Punishment

Knollwood is no longer allowed to perform any new cemetery and crematory services.

"Knollwood’s practice of storing remains temporarily and without authorization demonstrates clear violations of Michigan’s Public Health and of the Occupational Code and possible violations of the Penal Code," LARA officials said in a release. "These new violations, coupled with those found last week, pose an imminent threat to the public health and safety of Michiganders."

It can provide services, burial or entombment space to fulfill the terms of any existing contracts or invoices, LARA announced.

The cemetery cannot bury or cremate the more than 300 remains that were improperly stored unless LARA directs it to do so, officials said.

LARA is exploring options for appropriate handling of the remains.

Copyright 2018 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.