Bodies of 11 babies found in the ceiling of a former funeral home in Detroit

VIDEO: REUTERS

DETROIT (WASHINGTON POST) - Construction workers made a gruesome discovery as they worked to transform a funeral home into a community centre: the bodies of 11 infants hidden in the ceiling.

According to the Detroit News, eight bodies were found on Friday evening (Oct 12) in a cardboard box and three others were found in trash bags inside a casket, all concealed in a compartment in the ceiling. The construction workers called the police, who ordered the rest of the property searched.

WDIV, a local NBC affiliate, said the Cantrell Funeral Home on the city's east side had been shut down in April by state inspectors who had found several violations including decomposing remains, improperly stored bodies and unsanitary conditions.

The inspectors showed up by surprise and were at first denied entry; once inside they found more than minor violations.

Bodies from 2017 had been kept in an unrefrigerated garage.

Other embalmed bodies that were improperly stored for months were covered with mould.

The inspectors also alleged the owners had mishandled funds, and suspended the funeral home's licence.

The home's owner, Raymond Cantrell, told Fox 2 Detroit in an April interview that he had taken over the funeral home in 2017 and was doing "a favour to accommodate" customers who couldn't pay.

"If I had them in the funeral home then my funeral home wouldn't smell fresh," Cantrell told Fox then.

"So yes they are embalmed and serviced (and) we put them in the garage."