PROVIDENCE -- On Thursday, August 14, 2014, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) Office of State Medical Examiner (OSME) took into custody three bodies that had been found at a storage unit in Johnston rented by Alfred Pennine, the Pennine Funeral Home director who died last month.
The storage unit also contained personal effects that the OSME has identified as belonging to Mr. Pennine. Within the unit, three decomposed remains were found: a man in a metal coffin, a woman in a cremation transport container, and a baby boy in a small padded chest.
On the evening of August 14th, the OSME completed examinations on two of these decomposed bodies, both of whom appeared to have died of natural causes. A tentative identification has been established for the baby. Both adults were found to have had spinal surgery. Further exams have been scheduled. The time of death, and the duration these remains have been in this storage unit has not been determined as of this time.
The OSME also has updated information related to the original discovery of bodies at the Pennine Funeral Home in late-July. Of the six decomposed remains secured by the OSME on July 25th and examined, five have been identified. These individuals died between December 2001 and July 2013. Four of the five next of kin have been notified and two of the remains have been released to local funeral homes. The unidentified individual is an adult male who probably died at least 10 years ago. Over the course of the investigation, 45 cremated remains were also found in connection with the Pennine Funeral Home. Forty-three of these cremated remains have been identified. All but one next of kin has been identified. At this time, due to privacy concerns, the OSME will not release the names of these individuals.
The Department of Health has made available to the public the funeral establishment inspection reports and funeral service contract inspection reports relating to the Pennine Funeral Home. An inspection report indicates what steps were taken during an inspection of a funeral establishment, checking compliance with applicable statutes and regulations. A funeral service contract, also called a pre-need contract, is a contract between an individual and a funeral director pursuant to which the individual makes arrangements for the disposition of his or her body upon death (such as a wake, embalming, funeral, cremation, etc.).