Lawsuit: Funeral home where infants were found also faked a woman’s burial

The side of the former Cantrell Funeral Home at Mack and Garland. Photo by Steve Neavling.

The funeral home where the remains of 11 infants and fetuses were found hidden in a ceiling compartment also faked a burial for a woman whose body was later discovered in a garage, according to a lawsuit.

State inspectors found the body of 62-year-old Marcia Jordan in April, a month after the funeral home held a service at the cemetery and pretended to bury her, the lawsuit filed by Jordan’s three daughters claims.

“Defendants conducted a procession to the cemetery with a hearse,” the lawsuit alleges. “Defendants brought the late Marcia Jordan in a hearse to the cemetery. Defendants conducted a service at the cemetery chapel.

Instead of burying Jordan, the funeral home “brought Ms. Jordan’s body back to Cantrell Funeral Home and placed her body in a garage,” the lawsuit states. 

The state forced the funeral home to close on April 25 after finding filthy conditions and an improperly stored body, which presumably was Jordan’s.

A day later, the sisters “received a call from the State informing them that their mother’s body was found in a garage at the funeral home,” the lawsuit states.

The funeral home’s former owner, Raymond Cantrell II, lives in Alabama and could not be reached for comment. His attorney in the suit, Robert E. Packus, declined to comment.

On Monday, Police Chief James Craig provided more details of the discovery of remains found in a hidden compartment in the ceiling on Friday. Craig said 10 of the 11 bodies were fetuses stuffed into a cardboard box. A stillborn baby was inside a “little makeshift coffin.”

Craig said state inspectors didn’t find the infant remains during the April inspection because they were hidden.

The funeral home has been closed, and new owners plan to convert the building into a community center.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.