GARY, Ind. — Police say the remains of two babies have been found in small boxes above ceiling tiles in a northwestern Indiana funeral home.
Gary police and the Lake County coroner on Wednesday removed the bodies of a stillborn and a newborn from Smith, Bizzell and Warner Funeral Home. Investigators said the bodies appeared mummified or skeletonized. One had a tag indicating the baby was delivered March 3, 1996. Both, a boy and another baby whose gender couldn’t be determined, were unidentified as of Wednesday night.
Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey said the funeral home owners, Concord Family Services Inc., contacted her after finding the remains.
Later Thursday, a funeral home spokesman said the remains of the mummified or skeletonized babies were placed above the ceiling tiles by an employee last fall and taken down the same day by the manager of the facility.
Sean Howard, a spokesman for the Smith, Bizzell and Warner Funeral Home, answered questions Thursday about the mystery surrounding the babies’ remains. Howard says other questions are still unanswered, including the identities of the babies, why the funeral home under previous ownership accepted the remains and why the employee who has since been fired placed them above the ceiling.
Howard said the coroner’s office will conduct autopsies on the remains this week.
Concord vice president Sharon Vaughn said the home’s previous owners left the bodies. Concord bought the home in 2005.
Gary police Sgt. Thomas Decanter said a criminal investigation has been opened. Autopsies are scheduled Friday.
The causes of death for both were still pending, the coroner’s office said.
Contributing: Sam Charles