Letter alerted Michigan officials to hidden infant corpses

DETROIT (AP) — An anonymous letter informed Michigan officials that they could find "a bunch of infant corpses" hidden in a crawl space of a closed Detroit funeral home, according to state records.

The Detroit News used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of the letter received by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on Oct. 12, which detailed concerns about the Cantrell Funeral Home. Detroit police raided the home that same day and found the hidden remains of 10 fetuses and an infant.

The letter alleged that a former funeral home employee had hidden the corpses and was searching for a way to retrieve them from the now shuttered facility.

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Remains found at Detroit funeral homes
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Remains found at Detroit funeral homes
Exterior of the former Cantrell Funeral Home building is seen on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 in Detroit. An anonymously written letter led Michigan inspectors to find badly decomposed remains of 11 infants hidden in a ceiling compartment of the shuttered Detroit funeral home. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
A small crawlspace near the top of the pull down ladder at the former Cantrell Funeral Home, seen Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, was the area where Michigan inspectors found badly decomposed remains of 11 infants hidden in a ceiling compartment of the shuttered Detroit funeral home. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
A small casket at the former Cantrell Funeral Home is seen Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 in Detroit. The casket contained a baby and was one of the 11 badly decomposed infant remains that were found by Michigan inspectors on Friday, Oct. 12, hidden in a ceiling compartment of the shuttered Detroit funeral home. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
A family member places a carnation on one of the caskets of about 300 cremated remains recovered from a closed Detroit funeral home during an All Souls' Day Memorial Service, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit. Placed in five coffins, the remains will be interred at the cemetery. They were found earlier this year at Cantrell Funeral Home which was shut down in April due to improperly stored bodies and other violations. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
The Perry Funeral Home on Trumbull Aveenue in Detroit is pictured on October 21, 2018. - It is reported that 63 remains of fetuses were removed from Perry Funeral Home, 36 stored in boxes and another 27 found in freezers, police said. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has announced a 'wide probe' into Michigan funeral homes. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Quality Behavioral Health president and CEO Naveed Syed, owner of the former Cantrell Funeral Home building, walks out of the room, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, where Michigan inspectors found badly decomposed remains of 11 infants hidden in a ceiling compartment of the funeral home in Detroit on Friday. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
The Perry Funeral Home on Trumbull Aveenue in Detroit is pictured on October 21, 2018. - It is reported that 63 remains of fetuses were removed from Perry Funeral Home, 36 stored in boxes and another 27 found in freezers, police said. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has announced a 'wide probe' into Michigan funeral homes. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Tech Sgt. Patrick Probyn of the Air National Guard honor guard from Selfridge secures an American flag to a casket holding the remains of 26 veterans being transferred from Flint to Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. The remains, recovered from Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, were released from state custody in Flint, loaded into caskets and transported to Verheyden Funeral Home in Grosse Pointe Park Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
Brian Joseph, owner of Verheyden Funeral Home, carefully places an urn into a casket before the transfer of almost 300 sets of remains from the Preferred Mortuary state service location in Flint, Mich., Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. The remains, recovered from Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, including at least 26 veterans and dozens of unidentified people, were driven to Verheyden Funeral Home in Grosse Pointe Park. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
The Rev. Dr. Louis Prues, of the Jefferson Ave. Presbyterian Church, reads some of the names of about 300 cremated remains recovered from a closed Detroit funeral home during an All Souls' Day Memorial Service, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit. More than 50 were read as "unidentified loved" ones. Placed in five coffins, the remains will be interred at the cemetery. They were found earlier this year at Cantrell Funeral Home which was shut down in April due to improperly stored bodies and other violations. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Almost 300 sets of remains wait to be loaded into caskets at the Preferred Mortuary state service location in Flint, Mich., Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. The remains, recovered from Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, including at least 26 veterans and dozens of unidentified people, were transported to Verheyden Funeral Home in Grosse Pointe Park. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
Detroit Police drive down the ally of the closed Cantrell Funeral Home on Mack Avenue in Detroit on October 21, 2018. - With reports of the remains of 63 fetuses discovered at the Perry Funeral Home, and the remains of 11 infants at the Cantrell Funeral Home, Detroit Police Chief James Craig has announced a 'wide probe' into Michigan funeral homes. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
The Perry Funeral Home on Trumbull Aveenue in Detroit is pictured on October 21, 2018. - It is reported that 63 remains of fetuses were removed from Perry Funeral Home, 36 stored in boxes and another 27 found in freezers, police said. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has announced a 'wide probe' into Michigan funeral homes. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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"If you look above the door there's a crawl space and she has several infant corpse(s) placed back there dating back from over 10 years ago," the letter said.

The anonymous writer also alleged that the employee forged hundreds of documents, including death certificates.

Police have opened a criminal investigation into Cantrell.

State investigators suspended Cantrell's mortuary license in April after an inspection found deplorable conditions, such as bodies covered in what appeared to be mold. Another inspection in August uncovered "a stillborn corpse in a box atop a table," investigators said.

The Cantrell facility is among several funeral homes in Michigan facing misconduct allegations.

A separate police investigation is looking into the Perry Funeral Home in Detroit, where more than 60 fetuses where found in boxes and freezers in September.

A judge granted class-action status Monday to a lawsuit filed against the Perry Funeral Home . Rachel Brown's lawsuit alleges that Perry mishandled her daughter's remains after Brown sought to donate the baby's body to the university's medical school for research.

The findings prompted Gov. Rick Snyder to form a team to address funeral home problems .

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Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/

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