Police Have Preliminary Suspects in Murder of 11 Babies
DETROIT - October 15, 2018
Detroit police are actively looking into the case of 11 brutally murdered babies. According to preliminary information, it may have been a married couple previously seen at the scene, whopossibly live outside of the US.
Police became aware of the tragedy when an anonymous letter was delivered to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), which licenses funeral homes. The letter contained information describing where the bodies’ remain could be found, at the former Cantrell Funeral Home on Mack Ave.
The police later identified the anonymous person as Naveed Syed, who currently owns the property.
The infant bodies were found in bags, most in a cardboard box,and others stuffed inside a small coffin, police said.
“It’s just the callousness of the operators, the owners, the employees of the funeral home [that stands out],” Detroit Police Department Lt. Brian Bowser said at a press conference Friday night. “The inspectors from LARA located the boxes, or the one box and the casket, and they subsequently called 911. The police responded, they removed the box and the casket from the false ceiling, or the lowered ceiling, and they opened them up and obviously they discovered the remains.”
“They were actually in a cardboard box, nine of the 11—they’re very small remains,” Bowser continued. “They were in a cardboard box stuffed away from a stairwell.”
Bowser said they have the names of some of the deceased infants and the medical examiner will conduct an investigation. It’s not clear how long the remains had been there, but Syed said he was told at least one of the bodies had been there since 2009. Investigators are now working to identify the rest of the remains.
The Cantrell Funeral home was shut down in April due to several violations and “deplorable, unsanitary conditions.” Investigators found bodies not stored properly, including at least two that reportedly appeared to be covered in mold.
Syed is now converting the former funeral home into a community center.
Violations included dirty floors, peeling paint, mold, improper storage of embalmed bodies, with one in “advanced stage of decomposition,” and fraud, deceit, or dishonesty, incompetence, and gross negligence in the practice of mortuary science. LARA called the violations “deplorable” at the time.
The Detroit Police Department continued to investigate the discovery Friday and had cadaver dogs searching the property, Bowser said.
“Obviously we have to find out what happened, and why it happened,” he said.
A LARA spokesperson has released a statement to WXYZ explaining the discovery and the April violations.
“Based on a new complaint, LARA investigators today searched Cantrell Funeral Home and found the decomposing bodies of 11 infants,” the statement said. “We then immediately contacted local authorities. In April, LARA suspended the mortuary licenses of both the home and its manager Jameca LaJoyceBoone for many violations, including the improper storage of decomposing bodies of adult and infants. That suspension order remains in effect as does our investigation. We will use the evidence gathered today to add to our open investigation and will continue to work with local law enforcement as this case proceeds.”