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Multiple decomposing bodies and human fetuses at Pocatello funeral home

Pocatello

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POCATELLO — Investigators have completed searching Downard Funeral Home and are no longer at the property.

Pocatello city spokesman Logan McDougall said detectives continue to process evidence, review documents, and interview those who may have information about the case.

McDougall confirmed during a search of the building, officers discovered multiple unrefrigerated bodies in various states of decomposition, including some that were badly decomposed. Human fetuses were also discovered on the premises.

Police have not provided a total body count, or given any sort of explanation about why the bodies were decomposing or why fetuses were on the property.

So far, no one has been arrested in connection with this case.

“We know there are a lot of unanswered questions about the case,” Pocatello Police Chief Roger Schei said in a news release. “Our department has those same questions. I want to assure the families involved and the public that the men and women of the Pocatello Police Department will be working hard to provide the answers.”

The Downard Funeral Home is owned by Pocatello resident Lance Peck and his wife. Peck has a history of licensing violations, which are detailed here.

RELATED | Owner of funeral home under investigation had history of violations

Additionally, Downard Funeral Home was previously in charge of donating cadavers to Idaho State University for scientific study. This relationship ended last year though, after the university did not receive donations for a period of time.

In the process of ending the relationship, the university discovered some families believed the remains of their loved ones had already been donated. However, the university had no record of ever receiving those bodies.

Following an internal audit of all records and dealings with Downard, which “indicated multiple causes for concern,” ISU filed formal complaints with the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office, Pocatello Police and Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses.

RELATED | ISU recently ended cadaver contract with funeral home due to ‘multiple causes’ of concern

The audit was launched in the fall of 2020 and complaints were filed this spring.

Crews from Pocatello Fire and EMS arrived at Downard Thursday night, following reports of a foul stench emanating from the building. Pocatello police officers served a search warrant Friday morning, and began methodically removing bodies from inside the facility to a refrigerated trailer provided by the Ada County Coroner’s Office.

Pocatello police confirm some of the bodies found inside the funeral home have been positively identified and moved to other local funeral homes, who are attempting to contact next of kin.

RELATED | Officials confirm funeral home investigation centers around report of decomposing body

Bodies that have not been identified have been removed from the building and are now in the custody of the Bannock County Coroner. Officers will continue attempting to identify the remaining deceased.

Family members with questions and concerns have been asked to appoint one contact person and have them call Pocatello Police at (208) 234-6100.

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