Unlicensed Mortician Allegedly Stored Bodies, Remains in MA Self-Storage Units


Update 8/7/14 – Pathologists have used X-rays, medical and dental records to identify 11 of the 12 bodies discovered last month inside a Weymouth, Mass., self-storage unit. They also have determined that the cremated remains of more than 40 people found in a unit in Somerville, Mass., date back decades, according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Successfully identifying all of the deceased individuals and alerting families is a “time-intensive project,” Wark told the source. The families of the 11 identified bodies have been notified, he said.

The age of some of the cremains may prohibit investigators from including them in future criminal charges brought against suspect Joseph V. O’Donnell, according to Wark.

O’Donnell, a former mortician whose funeral-director license expired in 2008, rented both storage units, according to news sources. He remains in custody on $10,000 bail stemming from an unrelated larceny case.

7/21/14 – Human remains were recently discovered inside units at two Massachusetts self-storage facilities. Twelve bodies were found inside a Public Storage unit in Weymouth, and the cremated remains of 40 people were being kept in a unit at an unidentified Somerville storage property. The units were being rented by Joseph V. O’Donnell, whose funeral-director license expired in 2008, according to the source.

O’Donnell, 55, was already being held on $10,000 bail in a larceny case when investigators discovered the remains last week. He allegedly stole $12,000 from a client, the source reported.

Authorities do not suspect foul play, and investigators are trying to identify the remains, according to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley. “Our top priority right now is determining the identity of the remains we’ve discovered,” he said. “We’ve seized records and documents that could help us locate those people’s families, but this will be a time- and labor-intensive task.”

The bodies found in Weymouth were being sent to the chief medical examiner, according to the source.

No charges have been brought against O’Donnell in relation to the human remains, but the district attorney’s office is pursuing the discovery as a criminal investigation, the source reported.


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