Remains found in funeral home may be more than decade old

When Eyewitness News returned to Pennine Funeral Home Monday, July 28, 2014, the signs from the Grove St. business were gone.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Some human remains discovered last week at a Providence funeral home may have belonged to people who died more than one decade ago.

According to Providence police, some of the bodies that were improperly stored inside of Pennine Funeral Home on Grove Avenue in Providence may date back to the early 2000s. The health department revoked the funeral home’s license after finding the remains of people improperly stored.

“We believe that some of them date back maybe to the early 2000s. Now, everything right now is speculation until the Medical Examiner conducts their final investigation and makes their report,” said Maj. David Lapatin of the Providence Police Department.

Police are now investigating whether any crime was committed, and how the bodies came to rest inside of an unrefrigerated portion of the morgue, which is a violation of state rules.

“As far as being criminal, we don’t know. It could be just bad management. Extremely bad management of the funeral parlor,” Lapatin said.

Of the eight individuals whose remains were found, three were elderly men, two were elderly women, two were cremated, and one was a fetus. It is unclear why family members of the deceased never came to claim the bodies.

The Providence Journal reports the funeral home’s owner took his life in New Hampshire last week, leaving the funeral home without a director.

This is not the first time the late Alfred Pennine’s funeral home has been the subject of state scrutiny. Back in 2007, Pennine’s license to perform funeral services and embalming was suspended for two years, according to past documents.

The health department has tentatively identified four of the eight individuals stored in the funeral home, and are working to locate their next of kin.

Days after the health department ordered the funeral home closed, signs outside the defunct business were removed.

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