Thirty-one bodies, some decomposing, found at Indiana funeral home, officials say

·1 min read
<span>Photograph: Joseph Cooke/AP</span>
Photograph: Joseph Cooke/AP

Authorities in Indiana are investigating the discovery of 31 bodies, some in advanced stages of decomposition, and other post-cremation remains at a funeral home.

The bodies were found on Friday after reports of a foul stench coming from the Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center, where some of the remains had been kept since March.

“We arrived at the scene and of course our officers did smell a strong odor,” said Maj Isaac Parker. “It was consistent with decomposing bodies. If you walked inside the business itself, you would understand this is abnormal for any funeral home I’ve been to.”

The police department is investigating the identities of the remains, as is the Clark county coroner’s office, which has taken custody of the deceased. The office will contact relatives and ask anyone who has entrusted the remains of a relative to Lankford Funeral Home to call the coroner’s office.

The owner of the funeral home, listed as Randy R Lankford in the home’s website, did not immediately respond to an email from the Guardian. The owner has been speaking with police since Friday, according to reports, and no charges have been filed.

Parker said that he could not comment on when any charges would be filed and the investigation continued.

A woman told a television station in Louisville, Kentucky, that she was still waiting for her brother’s remains after they were sent to the funeral home for cremation in April. Tara Owen said she reached out to the funeral director, and he said he was “dealing with a lot at the moment”.

“If I do get cremated remains, how do I know that they’re him? It’s just really sad,” Owens said.