Psychologist: Parents of found fetuses, infants at funeral homes face 'multiplicity of losses'

Posted at 12:46 PM, Oct 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-21 15:29:39-04

Two Detroit funeral homes are under investigation after the remains of dozens of infant and fetuses were found.

Parents who used their services are left asking and wondering if the funeral home properly buried their babies. This comes after the more than 70 remains of infants and fetuses were found at two different funeral homes in Detroit.

Those who used Cantrell and Perry funeral homes to bury their loved ones are re-living their grief, like Tyesha Dukes who entrusted Perry Funeral Home to handle the remains of her child.

“This funeral home is under investigation," Dukes said. "How do I know my baby is not in there thrown to the side?”

Grieving families have expressed worry about their loved ones' remains. 

Psychologists say families in this type of situation experience a second round of grief.

“An incredible betrayal of trust, which not only reinforces the sadness and grief of losing ones child, but now the outrage,” said Dr. Kenneth Wolf, who is a clinical psychologist that specializes in trauma. 

He says the outrage from families who used Perry and Cantrell funeral homes is understandable, especially since losing a baby or fetus represents a loss of a part of a parent’s future.

“When children die, when fetuses die, there is a multiplicity of losses,” Wolf said. 

Investigators found remains of 63 infants and fetuses at Perry Funeral home and 11 at Cantrell Funeral Home — leaving families in the dark until remains are identified.

“Now you don’t even know if you were saying good bye to the right person,” Wolf said.

A lawyer Perry funeral home says the remains found were unclaimed by the parents. However, families who question that are still reliving their sadness. 

“A secondary traumatic insult that opens up all the initial feelings of loss and grief, and now this anger of being betrayed and deceived which intensifies the loss,” Wolf said. 

Investigators say the two funeral homes are not connected.

While the investigation continues, Dr. Wolf says the families who are concerned should seek help through a support network to help deal with their emotions