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'I feel like he put on a front': Clients of southern Indiana funeral home speak after bodies found decomposing

New perspectives are coming from families who used Lankford Funeral Home's services, saying they saw red flags coming from inside but at the time thought nothing it.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — There is still plenty of concern coming from Jeffersonville residents after police discovered 31 bodies and the cremated remains of 16 individuals while investigating Lankford Funeral Home Friday.

"This is just a little town," Kenney Kersey said. "It's shocking for the people here." 

Kenney Kersey says he comes from a family funeral home business that served Southern Indiana for 160 years until closing recently.

"It just boggles my mind. Yeah, yeah it just boggles my mind," he said.

He says about two or three years ago, Randy Lankford, owner of Lankford Funeral Home, gave him a tour of his then, newly opened business.

"We walked into a side room and there [were] five bodies on stretchers in like, a semi-circle," Kersey said.

He says the longer they chatted in the room, the more concerned he became about Lankford leaving them unrefrigerated, but he brushed it off.

"Looking back, after what happened, it does seem fairly odd," Kersey said.

That is a sentiment shared by many, like the families who trusted Lankford to care for their late loved ones.

"He seemed like a nice guy, but looking back, I feel like he put on a front," Derrick Kessinger said.

Kessinger, now a single father of two sons, has lost a lot this year. In May, his dad passed away and just days later, his wife did too.

In the wake of two tragedies, he turned to Randy Lankford's services.

"He did great, you know, he was willing to work with us because we didn't have much money," Kessinger said.

While seemingly great at first, Kessinger says he noticed something was off the day of his late father's funeral service, and then again during his late wife's service.

"We noticed a really bad smell," he said. "Like if you were standing over a dead animal." 

Major Isaac Parker tells us the investigation into Lankford stemmed from tips regarding an odor coming from the funeral home.

Kessinger said he didn't think too much of it at the time because he assumed that was normal for a funeral home.

In the coming months, he received his wife's ashes from Lankford but not his dad's. 

He'd been trying to get them from Lankford for weeks until he saw what happened Friday.

"Awe man, it's sick. It's just sick. it really is sick," he said.

He now questions if his late wife's ashes are really her.

"I really, really hope this is my wife." he said. "I really, really do."

No charges have been filed either at this time. Parker said he could not comment on what or when they could be.

The bodies and cremated remains are now in the possession of the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

Jeffersonville police will be working with them to determine the identities and contact relatives.

If you have entrusted the care of your loved one with Lankford Funeral Home, you are asked to call the coroner’s office at (812) 285-6535.

Contact reporter Connor Steffen at csteffen@whas11.com or on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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