The remains of 63 infants or fetuses were found at a funeral home in Detroit on Friday, the Detroit Police Department said.
“We’ve got multiple layers of potentially criminal activity by Perry Funeral Home, lack of supervision on the part of the mortuary science program and gross negligence on the part of the hospital,” said Peter J. Parks, a lawyer for the mother. — The New York Times
Early one December morning in 2014, Rachel Brown gave birth to a girl in Detroit’s Harper-Hutzel Hospital. Immediately after she was born, the little girl, Alayah, experienced respiratory distress and died some 30 minutes later. Her mother says a hospital worker approached her and her husband about gifting the newborn’s body to Wayne State University Medical School for science and research. Brown agreed. Nearly four years later, Brown says Alayah’s body never made it to the medical school and still has not been laid to rest. All this comes from a lawsuit Brown filed in July. In it, she alleges that the hospital instead gave Alayah’s body to a Detroit funeral home, and may have helped authorities discover the remains of 63 fetuses or infants at Perry Funeral Home on Friday. It was the second instance in which authorities said fetal or infant remains were improperly kept at a Detroit funeral home this month. — CNN
Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced a “wide probe” into Michigan funeral homes Friday, after hidden caches of baby corpses were allegedly discovered at two unrelated businesses inside a week. — The Washington Post
As authorities probe the discovery of abandoned remains at the former Cantrell Funeral Home, police are investigating allegations that another Detroit funeral home mishandled hundreds of fetuses and infants’ bodies and filed death certificates falsely claiming that some of them had been buried.
The latest investigation stems from a 72-page lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court that claims Perry Funeral Home, on Trumbull near Warren, stored the remains of stillborn and live birth babies in the Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science morgue for up to three years without trying to notify parents, some of whom wanted to donate the bodies for medical research.
The suit was filed in July by attorneys for Rachel Brown and Larry Davis, the parents of Alayah Davis, who suffered from severe respiratory problems after her birth Dec. 8, 2014. She survived only 27 minutes.
After Alayah died, her parents thought they were releasing the body to Wayne State’s medical school for medical research, but found out last year the remains instead were sent to Perry Funeral Home and then sat unattended in the school’s morgue for three years after her death, the lawsuit said.
Brown and Davis’ attorneys, Peter J. Parks and Daniel W. Cieslak, on Oct. 3 filed a motion to certify the lawsuit as a class-action because they said there likely are hundreds of related cases. — The Detroit News