LARA Completes Cantrell Investigation, Seeks License Revocation

Findings include numerous acts of fraud, deceit, dishonesty, incompetence and gross negligence in the practice of mortuary science

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

December 21, 2018 - The Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has completed its administrative investigation into Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit, the home’s designated manager, Jameca LaJoyce Boone, and formerly licensed Raymond Cantrell II, who inherited the business following his father’s death in October 2016 and was running day-to-day operations at the funeral home in 2017 and 2018. Based on multiple violations of Michigan’s Public Health and Occupational Codes and the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act, LARA is seeking to revoke the home’s and Boone’s mortuary science licenses as well as the home’s prepaid funeral and cemetery sales registration. LARA will also seek to prevent Cantrell II from future licensure.

In April, LARA summarily suspended these licenses after regulators found deplorable and unsanitary conditions including the improper storage of decomposing bodies of adult and infants. An October search of the home based on a detailed but anonymous tip letter then found the decomposing bodies of 11 infants hidden in the ceiling.

LARA’s completion of its administrative investigation has resulted in formal complaints against Cantrell Funeral Home, Boone, and Cantrell II. Key findings include:

  • Numerous acts of fraud, deceit, dishonesty, incompetence, and gross negligence in the practice of mortuary science.
  • Storing deceased human bodies in a disrespectful and callous manner in various locations throughout its facility in a manner, and for a length of time that resulted in several of the bodies reaching an advanced stage of decomposition.
  • Unlicensed activity and aiding and abetting unlicensed activity.
  • Operating a funeral home without a licensed designated manager.
  • Reusing single use caskets.
  • Extremely unsanitary conditions and inadequate ventilation in the embalming room.
  • The untimely filing of death certificates.
  • Knowingly making a false statement on a death certificate.
  • Improper storage of medical waste.
  • Failure to escrow approximately $65,990 the home received in connection with prepaid funeral contracts

LARA will use these formal complaints and their findings to seek license revocations. In response to the formal complaints, each respondent has the opportunity to participate in a compliance conference with the Department to either demonstrate compliance with the law or voluntarily engage in settlement negotiations. If no response is received to the formal complaints, or if the respondents request to proceed directly to an administrative hearing, one will be scheduled.

With respect the home’s registration under the Prepaid Act, LARA has the authority to make findings of fact and determine the appropriate penalty upon review of the hearing record. With respect to the respondents’ mortuary science licenses, the Board of Examiners in Mortuary Science determines the appropriate penalties upon review of a Hearing Report finding violations of the administrative law. LARA’s goal in taking the present actions is to ensure that these individuals and the home are never licensed in the funeral home industry again.

LARA is a regulatory agency with no criminal enforcement powers, and when the department determines that one of its regulatory actions could result in criminal charges, those cases are referred to law enforcement. LARA has shared the results of its regulatory investigation into Cantrell with the Detroit Police Department.

LARA continues to work closely with Detroit Police to identify bodies found at Cantrell. Members of the public who have questions or concerns regarding the operation of Michigan’s funeral homes should contact LARA at 517-241-7000, or by email at funeralhomes@michigan.gov.

More information on LARA’s regulation of Michigan funeral homes can be found here.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara
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