Remains of 2 infants found in funeral home ceiling

GARY, IN -- A death investigation is underway after the Lake County coroner took custody of the remains of two babies found at a Gary, Indiana funeral home. A spokeswoman for the funeral home has her own explanation about the remains that have been at the home for years.

About 12:50 p.m., investigators from the Lake County, Ind. coroner's office were called to the Smith, Bizzell and Warner Funeral Home at 4209 Grant St. in Gary, according to a release from the coroner's office.

Investigators believe the remains had been there before the current owners moved in on June 3, 2005. The funeral home says a previous employee is responsible and that employee has been discharged.

Gary police said it's unclear whether foul play was involved in the deaths of two babies. Their remains were removed from the Smith, Bizzell, Warner and Son Funeral Home Wednesday.

"We're going to get together, go over all the paperwork, find out the ownership, get records of ownership of the establishment," said Sgt. Thomas Decanter, Gary Police Dept.

The babies' remains had were reportedly found in a box above the ceiling tiles.

A spokesperson for the funeral home said Wednesday night she does not know where the remains were located, but says the babies were "unclaimed fetuses" and that the home wanted to have a "final resting disposition" for the remains.

The Lake County Coroner's Office says one baby's race and gender are unknown. The coroner's report says there are no injuries, but the cause of death is still pending. A published news report says the baby - which is now mummified - was a stillborn that arrived at the home in 1996. A woman's name is with those records.

The coroner lists the second infant as Baby Boy Doe, and says his age and race are not known. No injuries are reported, but they're still investigating his death. That baby boy, according to a published news report, has an ID band stating he was born in March 2012, but that date is in question.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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