Authorities investigating a former funeral home director who allegedly stole $12,000 from a client found 12 bodies at a storage facility in Weymouth Thursday, just one day after they found remains in a Somerville storage unit, prosecutors said.
Detectives found the bodies in a Public Storage unit on Main Street in Weymouth, the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. The investigators are focusing on Joseph V. O’Donnell, 55, a former funeral home director in Dorchester who is currently in custody on larceny charges.
“Our top priority right now is determining the identity of the remains we’ve discovered,” Conley said in the statement. “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.”
Jake Wark, a spokesman for the district attorney, said, “By late this evening, detectives and pathologists had recovered 12 bodies from the Weymouth storage facility.”
Just a day earlier, police investigating O’Donnell found cremated remains in a storage unit on Linwood Street in Somerville.
Officials at that storage facility could not be reached Thursday night. A corporate spokesman for Public Storage in Weymouth declined to comment.
Conley’s office said authorities were sending the remains from the Weymouth site to the chief medical examiner.
A woman who identified herself as O’Donnell’s sister-in-law declined to comment when reached by phone late Thursday.
O’Donnell is being held on bail on charges that he took funeral prepayment funds from an elderly couple hoping to cover the cost of two future services at his funeral home on Neponset Avenue. When they asked to transfer one of the payments to another relative who had died, prosecutors said, the funeral home was closed and O’Donnell could not provide them with their money.
O’Donnell was arrested April 10 and is due back in court Friday, Conley’s office said.
Prosecutors said Thursday that O’Donnell’s funeral director license lapsed in 2008, but he may have continued to make funeral arrangements since then.