Baby's remains discovered with others in Johnston storage unit
JOHNSTON, R.I. —
Three more bodies, including that of an infant, were discovered Thursday in the investigation into a closed funeral home in Providence.
The decomposed remains were found at a storage facility on Putnam Pike in Johnston.
Johnston and Providence Police along with the medical examiner converged on the storage unit following the grim discovery.
Police say the storage unit had been rented by the owner of Pennine funeral home.
But after months of non-payment, police say the contents of the unit were auctioned off Thursday afternoon. After loading up some of the items in his truck, the man who won the auction found two bodies, one in a casket, the other in a box.
After police were called, he left, but police called him to return. Unbeknownst to him, he had left with another body, that of the infant "When he came back, we examined what was removed and that's when we located the third body inside some type of small casket or container," said Johnston Police Maj. Frank Levesque.
Police say the bodies appear to have been originally brought to Pennine funeral home for burial of cremation, but that didn't happen. It appears the bodies had been at the storage unit at least six months.
Now investigators are working to identify the remains.
"It's disturbing. And that's why we're trying to get to the bottom of this and wrap this up so families can have closure as soon as possible," said Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin.
Two weeks ago the state health department shut down Pennine funeral home in Providence, claiming there were a number of bodies that were improperly stored here. Some of the remains had been there for years.
That discovery came after police say funeral home owner Alfred Pennine committed suicide in New Hampshire. Providence Police say there is an ongoing criminal investigation. "Obviously the scope has widened. We expected, or thought we could expect this to happen. So we've been looking around," said Lapatin. And Providence Police are asking storage rental facilities to check for the name Alfred Pennine on their roster to determine if there any more situations like the one discovered Thursday.