published Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Old remains found in unrefrigerated morgue in Rhode Island

This Wednesday, July 30, 2014, photo shows Pennine Funeral Home, on Grove Street, in Providence, R.I., where bodies and remains that had been stored for up to a decade or more, were found a week earlier.
This Wednesday, July 30, 2014, photo shows Pennine Funeral Home, on Grove Street, in Providence, R.I., where bodies and remains that had been stored for up to a decade or more, were found a week earlier.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Several bodies had been stored for up to a decade or more at a Rhode Island funeral home whose owner killed himself last week, police said Thursday.

The bodies of five elderly adults — three men and two women — and one fetus were found along with the cremated remains of two other people last week at the Pennine Funeral home in Providence, according to the state health department.

Providence police Maj. David Lapatin said indicators at the scene lead him to believe some of the bodies date back to the early 2000s. He declined to elaborate.

Detectives are waiting for the state medical examiner to finish identifying the bodies so they can contact any relatives, Lapatin said. Lapatin said the investigation is not currently considered criminal.

A spokesman for the state Health Department said four of the six bodies have been tentatively identified.

The funeral home's director, Alfred Pennine, committed suicide July 21 in New Hampshire, according to authorities.

Another funeral director found the remains after returning from New Hampshire with Pennine's body. Michael Berarducci told the Providence Journal that some of the bodies appeared to be identified with hospital tags, and that three were in caskets and two were in long cardboard boxes. They were in a garage that had been converted into an unrefrigerated morgue, the paper reported.

According to the Health Department, Pennine was put on probation for two years in 2006 for not performing a timely cremation and for not submitting a required report. His license was suspended in 2007 for two years for unprofessional conduct and reinstated in 2009 after Pennine agreed to two more years of probation.

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