A strong smell led police to find at least 31 decomposing bodies and the cremated remains of 16 others inside a funeral home in southern Indiana.
Some of the bodies were “in an advanced stage of decomposition,” Maj. Isaac Parker of the Louisville suburb of Jeffersonville said in a statement.
Officers had to wear hazmat protective equipment to enter the Lankford funeral home and family center on Friday when they made the discovery.
They worked all night to recover the human remains. Police in hazmat suits found bodies “in various locations around the building”, Mr Parker said.
Authorities also found the cremated remains of 16 other people.
The funeral home came under intense scrutiny after the coroner’s office responded to the strong odor that filled the premises around the building after its air conditioning unit stopped working.
Some of the bodies had been at the funeral home since March, Mr Parker said.
“It was a very unpleasant scene,” Mr Parker said. “The conditions weren’t good.”
Mr Parker said the funeral home owner was cooperative and had been talking to police since Friday.
The remains were taken to the Clark County Coroner’s Office for identification. Police urged the public with information to contact the coroner’s office.
A resident who sent her brother’s body to the funeral home for cremation in April said she was still awaiting his remains, WHAS-TV reported.
Tara Owen said when she contacted the funeral home director, he responded by saying he was “processing a lot right now”.
“I couldn’t sleep last night not knowing what happened to his body. Was he cremated? Is not it? What’s going on? If I receive cremated remains, how do I know it’s him? It’s just really sad,” she said.
The Independent Gt