Friday, June 21, 2024

Indiana funeral director pleads guilty to theft after 31 decomposed bodies are found at a crematorium


An Indiana funeral director pleaded guilty Friday to dozens of felony counts after 31 bodies and 17 cremations were found at his funeral home last year, court records show.

Randy Lankford, owner of Lankford Funeral Home & Family Center in Jeffersonville, will pay $46,000 in restitution to 53 families and face a proposed sentence of 12 years – four years in prison and eight years of home confinement, Teahe reported to the Associated Press,

Lankford pleaded guilty to 43 counts of burglary where the property was valued between $750 and $50,000, Clark County court records show. According to records, he was charged with 86 counts of theft and one count of corrupt business influence.

According to the AP the theft charge was for failing to complete the funeral services for which he was paid.

According to records, Lankford will remain in home confinement until sentencing on June 23.

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

Police in Jeffersonville conducted the search after the local coroner’s office alerted the department to “conditions” at the funeral home on July 1, according to a petition to the Indiana attorney general seeking to suspend Lankford’s license.

According to the petition, officials found that three of the facility’s four air conditioners were not working. The petition said bodies in body bags were placed in different rooms, and many were there for “extended” periods of time.

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

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

The couple later learn that their daughter wasn’t cremated at all—she was among the decomposed bodies discovered at Lankford’s business.

The suit accuses Lankford of negligence, intentionally causing emotional distress and breach of contract.

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