Johnstown Police Department (JPD) executed a search warrant at the Ehle-Barnett Funeral home on Friday following a pile of complaints that the business, later found to be unregistered, failed to store human remains in temperature-controlled locations.

Police said the paperwork stemmed from a Jan. 10 complaint after the William Street establishment failed to respond to calls of a family who contracted cremation services several weeks ago. According to the clients, they are yet to claim the ashes of their loved ones, the Daily Gazette reported.

Following the raid, the cops discovered that the remains sent to the funeral home were not cared for in any manner; and that its funeral director, Brian M. Barnett, had been operating without a license to practice after his permit was suspended in late November 2021.

In a news release on Saturday, JPD revealed they discovered at least three bodies and a dozen containers of cremated remains, adding that two corpses were in “advanced states of decomposition” in a garage located behind the funeral home, News 10 noted.

“Some containers listed the identification of the individual, however, there were several containers that did not have a visible identification tag and which were open,” police said.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Funeral Directing, which supervises funeral operations in New York under the Department of Health, said Barnett’s license was suspended for operating an unregistered firm. 

It was then revealed the funeral home had previously been penalized for the same offense and for failing to allow certain records to be inspected, according to Times-Union.

Meanwhile, JPD is urging families who had contracted services from the Ehle-Barnett Funeral Home and have not received the remains of their loved ones to contact police at JPD@cityofjohnstown.ny.gov or contact the Fulton County Coroner’s Office (FCCO).

“We ask that family members have the date, time, and location of when their loved one passed away,” the release read. “The Johnstown Police Department would like to thank the A.G. Cole Funeral Home for the respectful handling of the remains.”

FCCO and JPD are now working to identify the recovered remains before getting in touch with their respective grieving families. Charges are pending as the investigation continues.

cadaver In a news release on Saturday, JPD revealed they discovered at least three bodies and a dozen containers of cremated remains, adding that two corpses were in “advanced states of decomposition” in a garage located behind the funeral home. This is a representational image. Getty Images