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Indiana revokes funeral home director’s license for good after 31 bodies found

A white casket sits on a dais inside a funeral home. Indiana permanently revoked the licenses of funeral director Randy Lankford and his funeral home after 31 decomposing bodies were found at the Jeffersonville facility last summer. (Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Grim conditions in a southern Indiana funeral home have now cost the owner his license, his business, and his freedom.

Randy Lankford, director of Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center in Jeffersonville, pleaded guilty in June to more than 40 counts of felony theft. He initially faced more than 80 felony counts for failing to care for the deceased loved ones of his customers.

In early July 2022, officers discovered 31 bodies, in various states of decomposition, stored improperly around the building. 

Authorities say the bodies were not refrigerated and three of the home’s four air conditioning units were broken. Some of the bodies had been stored for an extended time in violation of state law; in at least one case, the body had been there since March.

Police also found the cremated remains of 17 people, court papers say.

“It was a very unpleasant scene,” Jeffersonville Police Maj. Isaac Parker said at the time. “The conditions were not good.”

In the weeks after the discovery, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita sought an emergency 90-day suspension of the licenses of both Lankford and his funeral home, writing in an emergency filing that they represent “a clear and immediate danger to the public health.” 

That move provided time for both a criminal case and a permanent professional punishment to develop.

Now, just over one year after the bodies and remains were discovered, the State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service has permanently revoked the licenses of Lankford and his facility. He will not be allowed to serve as a funeral director in Indiana again.

“It’s hard to believe the appalling conditions at this funeral home,” Rokita said in a release Tuesday. “Hoosier families deserve to have their loved ones treated with dignity and respect by funeral homes and their employees.”

In June, a judge sentenced Lankford to four years in jail plus 12 years probation.

The jail time and the revocation of Lankford’s licenses do not end his legal woes. He still faces dozens of civil lawsuits from family members who entrusted him with the care of the remains of their loved ones.

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