Sunday September 24, 2023

Indiana man jailed after 31 rotting bodies found from his funeral house

Jeffersonville funeral home director to remain in custody under home incarceration until sentencing in June

By Web Desk
May 27, 2023
This representational picture shows a coffin in a funeral home. — AFP/File
This representational picture shows a coffin in a funeral home. — AFP/File

The director of an Indiana funeral home, where more than 31 decomposing bodies and 17 cremains were found, has pleaded guilty to more than 40 counts of felony theft.

Prosecutors charged Randy Lankford, who owns Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center in Jeffersonville, for "failing to complete the funeral services he was paid for," BBC reported.

The judge suggested a sentence of 12 years — four years in prison and eight years under home detention — and pay $46,000 in restitution to 53 families.

According to court records, Lankford will under house arrest until he is sentenced in June.

Jeffersonville Police found the bodies while investigating the funeral home in July last year when they were alerted of "a strong smell coming from the building," the report said.

The unrefrigerated bodies had been at the funeral home for months.

According to Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull, the case against Lankford had been "complicated" by the number of charges against him and by a "backlog created by the Covid pandemic."

Derrick Kessinger, whose father, fiancée, and fiancée's father were under the care of the funeral home, also appeared in court on Friday.

"It's been tough, but I do forgive him for what he did," Mr Kessinger said. "I hope he can find forgiveness."

Meanwhile, other families are pursuing civil cases against the 50-year-old.

Among the allegations in filed court documents are that a number of families received what they believed to be the ashes of their loved ones, only to be contacted by police months later and told the actual ashes had been discovered at Lankford's funeral home - or that their family member was never cremated at all.