Friend of defunct funeral home’s late owner told police about bodies

Pennine Funeral Home on Grove St. in Providence was ordered closed after health officials discovered six bodies in the facility, along with the cremated remains of two others.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The state health department discovered several improperly stored bodies in a local funeral home thanks to a tip from the now-defunct business’s late owner, Eyewitness News learned Thursday.

Michael Berarducci is a funeral director in Providence and a friend of the late Alfred Pennine who owned and operated the Pennine Funeral Home on Federal Hill. State health officials shut down Pennine’s former business after they discovered six bodies and two cremated remains stored in an unrefrigerated portion of the funeral home.

Berarducci was the person who first told the state about the improperly stored bodies.

“I can’t seem to get my head around this,” Berarducci told Eyewitness News on Thursday. “I opened up the other caskets, and I saw they were encased in body bags… it was quite awful.”

Health officials say one of the corpses was that of a fetus, and the other five bodies were those of elderly adults. The medical examiner’s office has not publicly identified any of the bodies, but police did confirm that some of the deceased may have died 10 years ago.

“We believe that some of them date back… maybe to the early 2000s,” Providence Police Major David Lapatin said.

Police have not said whether they believe criminal activity might be connected to the bodies. They said the discoveries might be the results of the late funeral home owner’s poor management.

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