Unclaimed cremains found inside vacant Detroit funeral home - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Unclaimed cremains found inside vacant Detroit funeral home

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By Alexis Wiley
FOX 2 News Reporter

DETROIT -- A building that used to be a funeral home has been completely stripped.  Everything of value has been taken except for 26 containers of cremated remains that were apparently just left behind.

The containers were found stacked in a cabinet, each marked with names, dates and next of kin.

Sean Murray closed on the old funeral home just a few days ago.  He and New Orbit Funding plan to renovate it and rent it out so it can once again serve the community as a funeral home, but they're not making any moves until the remains are reunited with loved ones.

"We're not going to chuck (them) in a dumpster.  What'd you do?" said Murray.

The building housed Paradise Chapel Funeral Home.  We've learned the State of Michigan revoked the funeral home's license in 2006 after a state investigation.  Details were not available on the state's website.

An industry expert told me it's not uncommon for family members to leave their loved one's remains unclaimed.  It happens for a number of reasons, but the State of Michigan has outlined procedures on how funeral homes can respectfully dispose of those unclaimed remains.  Ditching them in a cabinet isn't one of them.

"We're going to try to find next of kin... get the remains back to the proper families.  If none are found, New Orbit Funding is going to take on the expense of making sure these remains have proper burial," said Craig Simmons.

The remains were handled by Paradise Chapel Funeral Home on Detroit's east side between 1999 and 2007.  The names and cremation dates are listed below.

To get in touch with New Orbit Funding about the remains, e-mail craig@neworbitfunding.net.

Name of Deceased Cremation Date Name of Deceased Cremation Date
Fannie Powell 7/9/2003 Arthur Cooper 11/4/2003
Leroy Crawford 10/8/1999 Lavonne Seals 5/14/1999
Elizabeth Drummon 11/20/1999 Robert Lee Buford 7/19/2001
Bertha Williams 1/23/2002 Mack Arthur Brown 2/22/2001
Sarah B. Perry ------ Jermaine Andre Hicks 9/18/2000
Leroy Harrison 12/30/2000 Sim Dortch, Junior 11/19/2002
William Downing 11/12/2002 Willie B. Palmer 8/26/2003
Orby High 12/18/1999 Donald Gilliam 12/11/1999
Jannie Cleveland 1/25/2000 James Ellis Shumperd 1/22/2001
Sharon Annette Clark 3/17/2001 Anthony Bernard Lynn 1/23/1999
Harold Lee Woodfolk 9/5/2001 Samuel Jordan 7/9/2003
Beulah Slater 10/16/1999 Jerome Leverette ------
Clara Franklin 1/16/2007 Unknown ------
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