WEYMOUTH (CBS/AP) – Officials said on Friday that a total of twelve bodies and the cremated remains of more than 40 other people were discovered in self-storage units rented in the name of an unlicensed Massachusetts funeral director.
Joseph O’Donnell is currently behind bars on larceny charges. Authorities say an investigation into his licencing led them to two storage units containing the remains.
The news is raising concerns among former patrons of O’Donnell’s Dorchester funeral home.
April Hopkins showed up in court Friday in hopes of getting some answers after learning O’Donnell was due in court for a previously scheduled hearing. O’Donnell waived his court appearance, and Hopkins left with the same concerns she arrived with.
“I’m concerned if I have anybody else’s remains in my house instead of my own family members,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins says she has the ashes of three relatives, but is now unsure if they are actual remains. Hopkins says she paid thousands of dollars to O’Donnell’s funeral home.
She already had a feeling something wasn’t right and then she saw the caskets and body bags pulled from the storage units this week.
“How do I know one of them is not my son; it’s not my mother. I know it’s not my granddaughters because they said they didn’t find any babies,” she said.
Dahria Williams-Fernandes, who runs another funeral parlor and sits on the board that licenses funeral directors says she’s appalled by what’s allegedly happened.
“There’s no way that we would ever be taking an individual and be placing them in storage unit. They’re always in our possession,” she explained.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports