Indiana funeral director pleaded guilty to theft of 48 decomposing corpses and cremated bodies, allegedly lied to families about cremains
An Indiana funeral director pleaded guilty to the theft of 48 decomposing corpses and cremated remains. The funeral director is also accused of lying about the cremains to the families of the deceased.
Randy Lankford – the owner of Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana – pleaded guilty to more than 40 felony theft charges.
Lankford faces a sentence of 12 years: four years in prison and eight years of home incarceration, according to Clark County Circuit Court Judge N. Lisa Glickfield. Lankford is ordered to pay $46,000 in restitution to 53 families.
Last year, local residents told authorities there was a potent odor emanating from the funeral home. Law enforcement officials investigated the Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center.
Authorities say they discovered 31 decomposing bodies and 17 cremated bodies at Lankford's funeral home in July 2022. Police found dozens of bodies unrefrigerated in different rooms of the funeral homes, according to court records.
"The funeral home's air conditioning also went out, potentially causing others in the area to smell the odor," Fox News reported. "Many of the corpses had been there for an extensive amount of time."
Lankford repeatedly lied to clients about the disposal or cremation status of the remains of their deceased loved ones, according to court docs.
Lankford reportedly provided cremated ashes to clients – telling them it was the remains of their deceased loved one. However, the person's actual remains were allegedly found in the Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center.
Cynthia Faye Cook and Jeffrey Lorey claimed that the Lankford Funeral Home gave them misleading information about the cremains of their daughter – Nicole Dallas Lorey. The family alleged that the funeral home told them that they didn't have a suitable container to send her remains. The family purportedly learned that their daughter hadn’t been cremated, and her body was decomposing at the funeral home.
Lankford faces multiple lawsuits from the families who claim the remains of their loved ones were compromised.
Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said, "We wanted to get justice for the families. And this, it’s a case where there were so many charges. We had to come to some sort of resolution that got justice now for those people. My goal as the prosecutor has been simply getting him convicted, getting him sentenced to jail and getting him to the point where these people are going to get their money back."
Randy Lankford agreed to surrender his personal license and the facility's license in 2022.
Lankford is scheduled to be sentenced in June.
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