Police in Jeffersonville, Indiana say officers knew something was badly wrong as soon as they arrived at Lankford Funeral Home, where there had been reports of a bad odor. Police say 31 bodies, some of them in an advanced state of decomposition, were found at the business Friday night. "Our officers did smell a strong odor that was consistent with a decomposing body," police Maj. Isaac Parker tells WHAS11. "If you walked inside the business itself, you'd understand this is abnormal for any funeral home." Parker says some bodies had been stored at the business since March. "It was a very unpleasant scene," he says. Officers also found the post-cremation remains of 16 people.
Police say the remains are now in the custody of the Clark County Coroner's Office, which is working to identify them, USA Today reports. Parker says families who dealt with the funeral home should contact authorities. "I'm sorry that they've already suffered a loss and now they're dealing with this situation," he says. "We ask anybody that has information to please reach out to us." He says police have spoken to funeral home owner Randy Lankford and no charges have been filed yet, but the investigation is in its early stages. Residents of the community, which is across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, say they're shocked by the development.
Derrick Kessinger, whose wife and father died within a few days of each other in May, tells WHAS11 that Lankford "seemed like a nice guy"—but he noticed a "really bad smell" at both funerals. He says he hasn't received his father's ashes yet, and he's now unsure whether what he received from the home was really his wife's ashes. Kenny Kersey, whose family has been in the funeral business for generations, tells WAVE that something seemed off when Lankford gave him a tour of the business after he opened it a few years ago. Kersey says there were five bodies on stretchers in a side room. "I thought was kind of odd at the time. Usually they’re supposed to go to refrigeration or right to embalming," Kersey says. (Read more funeral home stories.)