JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — Nicole Lorey was 34 years old when she passed away in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. She had no life insurance, so a coroner recommended her family use Lankford Family Funeral Home in Jeffersonville.

According to a lawsuit filed on July 5, Nicole’s family had her remains transported to the southern Indiana funeral home where they were assured she would be cared for and that her body would be treated with dignity and respect. But as the days stretched on, the family claimed the funeral home continued to delay in delivering Nicole’s supposedly cremated remains.

When authorities were called to the funeral home on July 1, after tips of strong odors, investigators undercovered Lankford Funeral Home had 31 bodies in “advanced” stages of decomposition. Investigators also found 16 cremated remains.

The lawsuit alleges that Nicole’s remains were among the 31 bodies. That she’d never been cremated as funeral home director Randy Lankford had allegedly led the family to believe. The family claimed Lankford had deceived them, telling the family he was waiting on an urn to arrive when in reality she’d been left in the funeral home to decompose while the family waited anxiously to lay their loved one to rest.

“That’s the last thing we can do for someone who we love who has died is provide them a decent burial,” Larry Wilder, an attorney representing Nicole’s family, told WDRB.

The lawsuit alleges that Nicole’s mother and father suffered emotional trauma and anguish after the discovery of the conditions of the facility and the uncertainty of how their child’s remains were cared for. The lawsuit accused Lankford and the funeral home of lying about their child’s remains and failing to properly and professionally care for her.

“The conduct of the Defendants’ by failing to fulfill their duties and obligations in the care and
custody of the remains of Nicole were outrageous, egregious and lacked compassion and
consideration for the family and the remains of Nicole,” the lawsuit states.

According to previous reports, some of the bodies found inside the Landford Funeral Home had been there since March. Investigators worked through the night and into the morning after arriving at the funeral home to investigate the tip of a strong odor “consistent with decomposing bodies.” Bodies were taken away in refrigerated trailers.

WDRB talked to another family member, Kandi Rogers, whose son Dominic had died on Dec. 11. She received his cremated remains after a service at Lankford, but said it’d taken six to seven weeks for him to be cremated. Now she wonders if the remains she was given even belong to her son.

“We trust these people in the hardest time of our lives, at least for me, and to go and do that to somebody—I would never do that to somebody in life,” Rogers said. “And for them to take advantage of people and especially to treat your loved ones the way that they did, it’s not right.”

Samuel Lincoln and Kelita Williams also had loved ones cremated by Lankford Funeral Home and dealt with delays and frustrating communication. Now, after hearing the news of the disturbing scene found within the funeral home, both have doubts that their loved ones’ remains are genuine.

“I hope, I really do hope. But saying it’s 100%? I don’t believe so,” Lincoln said. “I don’t believe it’s my mother.”

According to a statement sent to WDRB News from Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s Office, it’s unclear whether or not any complaints had been filed yet with the funeral board or the AG’s office.

“We are generally aware of the serious allegations involving a funeral home in southern Indiana. However, Indiana law precludes our office from discussing the existence of or details from a licensing investigation before a complaint is filed with a board,” the AG’s office said in the statement.

Concerned and impacted families were encouraged to file a consumer complaint with Rokita’s office.

Police are asking anyone whose loved one had been cared for by the funeral home to contact the Clark County Coroner’s Office.