Decomposing Bodies and Fetuses Found in Funeral Home With a History of Violations
Authorities are in the midst of an investigation into a funeral home where numerous decomposing bodies and fetuses were found.
The scene was discovered by local fire and EMS crews on Thursday after reports of a strong odor coming from the Downard Funeral Home in Pocatello, Idaho, according to East Idaho News.
The initial investigation of the premises concluded on Friday, with authorities stating that there are still documents to review and relevant parties to interview before things can move forward.
The bodies were discovered in unrefrigerated storage in various states of decomposition, with some said to be in severe condition. Investigators did not reveal the exact number of bodies found at the funeral home following their initial search. It also remains unclear why the bodies were left to begin decomposing or why fetuses were being stored at the location.
No arrests have been made.
“We know there are a lot of unanswered questions about the case,” Pocatello Police Chief Roger Schei said in an update on the case from Saturday. “Our department has those same questions. I want to assure the families involved and the public that the men and women of the Pocatello Police Department will be working hard to provide the answers.”
Downard Funeral Home has also been embroiled in violations dating back to 2012, as East Idaho News recently uncovered through public records.
Also, the business had previously had an arrangement whereby it would donate cadavers for study at Idaho State University (ISU). The school terminated this relationship in 2020, claiming that it had not received any of the promised bodies for an extended period of time. It was later found that the families had been told that their loved ones’ bodies had already been donated, despite the fact the school had no record of receiving them.
A formal complaint was lodged against the funeral home by ISU in the spring with the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office. During an internal audit, the school had found “multiple causes for concern” with regard to its relationship with Downard.
Newsweek has reached out to the Pocatello Police Department and Downard Funeral Home for comment on this story.
Elsewhere, the decomposing bodies of two children, ages 6 and 8, were also recently discovered at a home in Baltimore. The bodies were found to have signs of physical trauma. The mother of the two children, Jameria Hall, admitted to killing them on August 25, Fox 32 Chicago reported, and was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.