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A funeral director pleads guilty after 31 decomposing bodies are discovered

A funeral director pleads guilty after 31 decomposing bodies are discovered

An Indiana funeral director pleaded guilty on May 26 to dozens of counts of felony theft after 31 decomposing bodies and 17 cremains were found at his funeral home last year, court records show.

Randy Lankford, owner of Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center in Jeffersonville, will pay $46,000 in restitution to 53 families and faces a proposed sentence of 12 years — four years in prison and eight years of home incarceration, The Associated Press reported.

Lankford pleaded guilty to 43 counts of theft where the value of the property is between $750 and $50,000, court records in Clark County show. He had been charged with 86 counts of theft and one count of corrupt business influence, according to the records.

The theft charge was for failing to complete the funeral services he was paid for, according to the AP.

Lankford will remain in custody under home incarceration until a sentencing hearing on June 23, according to the records. 

He still faces multiple lawsuits from people whose loved ones were among the bodies or cremains found at his funeral home last July. 

Police in Jeffersonville made the discovery after the local coroner’s office alerted the department to “conditions” at the funeral home on July 1, according to a petition from the Indiana Attorney General seeking to suspend Lankford’s license.

Authorities found that three of the facility’s four air conditioners weren’t working, according to the petition. Bodies in body bags were stored in different rooms, the petition states, and several had been there for an “extended” period of time. 

The bodies were in various stages of decomposition, the attorney general’s office said.

In a civil complaint filed last week, a couple said Lankford sent them a plastic box last June purporting to contain their daughter’s remains. 

The couple later learned that their daughter hadn’t been cremated at all — she was among the decomposing bodies discovered at Lankford’s business.

The suit accuses Lankford of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract.

A message left on a number listed for Lankford was not immediately returned Friday night. Lankford’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: NBC