POCATELLO — Identifying any of the dozens of fetuses Pocatello police recovered from Downard Funeral Home will be very difficult, authorities said.
Police announced in a Tuesday news release that approximately 50 fetuses were recovered during the execution of a search warrant at the funeral home on Friday.
Police said they recovered 12 bodies from the funeral home and have thus far identified six of them. Those bodies have been turned over to Pocatello-area funeral homes who along with the Bannock County Coroner’s Office are locating next of kin.
The fetuses recovered by police have been turned over to the Ada County Coroner’s Office for further investigation.
Police said the fetuses are in various stages of development and it’s still unknown why they were being kept at the funeral home.
As of Tuesday night, Pocatello police said the investigation into the “suspicious circumstances” at Downard had not resulted in criminal charges.
Police have received hundreds of tips and requests for information since news broke that multiple decomposing bodies and fetuses were found inside the funeral home.
Downard Funeral Home previously was in charge of donating cadavers to Idaho State University for scientific study but the relationship ended last year after the university had stopped receiving 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 to the university. However, ISU had no record of receiving those bodies.
Police said they are hoping Downard’s owners will provide information that will help in the investigation.
Police said Tuesday that the unidentified bodies they recovered had been scheduled for cremation at the funeral home. Police said they are working to identify those bodies.
Authorities launched an investigation Thursday into “suspicious circumstances” at the funeral home, after state inspectors had visited the facility on Wednesday. Police said that Lance Peck, who co-owns Downard Funeral Home with his wife, voluntarily surrendered his licenses to operate the funeral home, causing the closure of the business until further notice.
The Ada County Coroner’s Office delivered a mass casualty refrigeration trailer to the funeral home on Friday so police would have a place to store the recovered bodies and fetuses.
Police said their execution of the search warrant at the business Friday also was precipitated by a badly decomposed body being reported there last week.
The Pecks have not commented public comment about the police investigation of their funeral home, which was founded in 1931.
Pocatello Police are asking anyone with questions or concerns about a deceased loved one to fill out an online form at reportacrime.pocatello.us. To access the form, scroll down and click on “Information or Documentation Only Report.” Please provide the decedent’s name, date of birth and date of passing (if possible), along with any other information you feel may be helpful to the investigation. Also, communicate with other family members and try to establish one person as the point of contact, police said.
Those without access to a computer or smartphone can call Pocatello police detectives at 208-234-6121 to provide information.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.