Family member reacts to Jeffersonville funeral home director’s criminal charges

A Jeffersonville funeral director is facing charges after decomposing bodies were found inside his business.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 10:36 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Jeffersonville funeral director is facing charges after decomposing bodies were found inside his business.

Two months after authorities pulled out the remains of almost 50 people from the home, Randy Lankford is facing three felony theft and two misdemeanor theft charges.

Some of those remains belonged to Jerry Swann.

Jerry Johnson, Swann’s son, didn’t receive his father’s remains from Lankford Funeral Home for months.

“I can’t believe it took so long to charge him with something,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s father died in February and was cremated in March. He said he constantly had to call Lankford for updates.

“I’m like, ‘We never heard from you, where’s my dad’s ashes at?’” Johnson said.

Johnson finally got his father’s ashes back in May, but it wasn’t until July that he learned it wasn’t all of them.

“Found out, he split my dad’s ashes up,” Johnson said. “And didn’t tell us why he split them up or what he was going to do with the other half.”

Court documents revealed stories like this were common at Lankford’s funeral home. The documents said by giving families the wrong remains of their family members, Lankford is in violation of the Indiana Cremation Statute.

“We was gonna have a memorial for my dad when it got warmer, and now I’m glad we didn’t, because I didn’t have all of his ashes,” Johnson said.

The documents go into more detail about the conditions of the bodies found in the home. They state some of the bodies were so decomposed, they leaked fluids onto the carpet.

“I have to go through this grieving, and I know the other families got to go through the same stuff that I’m going through, and some of them are in worst shape than I am,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to go through this again when you thought you’ve put it behind you.”

Johnson was asked if he feels any closure after all the potential charges, civil suits, and the suspension of Lankford’s license.

“Kind of,” Johnson said. “But I still want the rest of my dad.”

He said he won’t get the rest of his father’s ashes until after all of the investigations have completed.

Johnson said he’s also joining in with other families to sue Lankford.