Corpse Confusion

Unattended bodies at vacant Fort Worth funeral home prompt police investigation

Bodies found in empty Fort Worth funeral home prompt police action

Johnson Family Mortuary
Dondre and Derrick Johnson outside the Johnson Family Mortuary in Fort Worth. Photo via Facebook

Fort Worth police were called to the vacant Johnson Family Mortuary on July 15 after several unattended bodies were found in the building. Sergeant Raymond Bush says the department is not releasing an exact number, because the investigation is ongoing.

The South Handley Drive property had been occupied by tenants who were running the mortuary; they were asked to leave by the landlord two weeks ago.

Bush says the owner of the building contacted police around 8 am after visiting the property. Although there were no employees on the scene, the landlord discovered multiple corpses. Bush says the utilities were still functioning in the building.

"The responding officers did a security sweep of the building before calling in the homicide unit," Bush says. "At this point it is just an investigation, but there is a possibility it could be an abuse of corpse case."  

Abuse of corpse is a class A misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The number listed on the Johnson Family Mortuary website is no longer in service; a man who answered the cellphone number listed on the website said it was "a wrong number."

Dondre and Derrick Johnson opened the Johnson Family Mortuary in July 2011 in Fort Worth. The twins had once planned to add locations in Beaumont and South Bend, Indiana. 

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office has taken possession of the bodies and is working to identify them and notify family members. Anyone who recently dealt with the Johnson Family Mortuary and is concerned about the whereabouts of their relative's remains is asked to call the ME's investigative unit at 817-920-5700 x. 5.