Service held for veterans’ cremains found at funeral home

HOLLY, Mich. (AP) — A service was held Monday at a Michigan cemetery for the cremated remains of about 20 military veterans found in a closed Detroit funeral home.

Hearses bearing the remains were escorted by police from the Detroit area to Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Detroit. They were given a 21-gun salute and taps was played.

The name of each veteran being laid to rest also was read aloud. Their remains were among several hundred discovered this year inside the Cantrell Funeral Home, which the state shut down in April after inspectors found improperly stored bodies and other violations.

“To bury the dead is one of the great acts of mercy and the final act of charity that we can give to our brothers today,” monsignor and retired Navy chaplain Timothy Hogan said in leading the service. “Now, may they rest in peace.”

Detroit police are investigating Cantrell Funeral Home after the remains of 10 mummified fetuses and a full-term infant were found last month beneath insulation in a ceiling. A separate investigation is underway on the Perry Funeral Home in Detroit after 63 fetuses also were found last month in boxes and freezers.

Verheyden Funeral Homes in the Detroit area provided identification of the cremains from Cantrell at no cost, and led efforts to bury them.

Non-military remains were interred earlier this month at a Detroit cemetery. Some of those have yet to be identified.

The remains of Donna Martin’s brother, Marshall Johnson, were taken Monday to Great Lakes National Cemetery. She told the Detroit Free Press that her brother died two years ago of lung cancer and that a service was held at Cantrell. The family believed the funeral home already had taken the remains to a military cemetery for burial.

“We had a ceremony before, but this time I was overwhelmed,” Martin said of Monday’s service.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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