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Dozens of bodies stored in U-Haul trucks outside Brooklyn funeral home, police source says

Posted at 10:09 AM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 13:09:08-04

NEW YORK -- Police are investigating allegations of bodies being stored in U-Haul trucks outside of a Brooklyn funeral home.

Police responded to reports of bodies in trucks, to which neighbors attributed a foul odor that they said has persisted for possibly weeks. Neighbors told WPIX that bodies stacked one on top of the other inside of the trucks.

The Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home is at Utica Avenue between Avenue L and Avenue M in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn.

Police sources told WPIX anywhere from 30 to 60 bodies were being stored in two U-Haul trucks outside the funeral home.

The source said the funeral home was filled to capacity, calling the unsanitary and undignified storage "totally inappropriate."

"These funeral homes need to know this is unacceptable,” the source said.

Multiple city agencies were on scene.

A spokesperson from the New York State Health Department said they'd been notified of the "storage issues." She asserted that "funeral directors are required to store decedents awaiting burial or other final disposition in appropriate conditions and to follow their routine infection prevention and control precautions."

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said it’s demeaning to both the deceased and their loved ones

“When you find bodies in trucks like this throughout our city, treating them in an undignified matter, that’s not acceptable,” Adams said.

He said we can’t put the blame solely on funeral homes, more needs to be done.

”It starts at the cemeteries. If we don’t start increasing the bodies we’re putting in the ground, then they’re going to stay above ground,” said Adams. “We need to have the medical examiner not work 8 to 8, he needs to do 12 o’clock so funeral directors can actually get there and morgues need to stay open later.”

Adams also told WPIX he’s putting together a committee to come up with a plan for the handling of so many bodies across the city.

“On Monday, I’m having a meeting with all my faith-based institutions. We need a bereavement committee,” said Adams. “The city needs to bring in funeral directors, morgues, MEs, clergy so how do we deal with this issue.”

WPIX made repeated attempts to reach out to the Cleckley Funeral Home, but has gotten no response.

This story was originally published by Shirley Chan, Mary Murphy and Corey Crockett at WPIX.