Corpses decomposed, 'mummified' inside mortuary

FORT WORTH, Texas — Court documents paint a gruesome picture of how the owners of a Fort Worth mortuary left human remains to decompose in a building without refrigerated storage.

Rachel Hardy Johnson and Dondre Johnson each face seven charges of abusing a corpse.

Those arrest warrants say only one of the corpses found inside the mortuary had been cared for and was not severely decomposed.

Six had been dead for weeks or months, and one corpse — a stillborn baby girl — had been dead since April, 2012.

The morbid discoveries were made July 15 by the funeral home's landlord when he showed up to evict Dondre and Rachel Johnson.

Court documents say the odor of decaying flesh could be smelled all the way in the parking lot of that Fort Worth mortuary, and that police observed bodily fluids on the driveway leading into the garage.

Once police got inside, they say they found evidence of insect infestation and fly pupa on or near the corpses.

Some of the bodies were mummified. One of those was wrapped in a sheet sitting on top of a coffee table.

Police said they found buckets placed under bodies to contain draining fluids.

Yvonne Stewart read the details on Wednesday night outside of the mortuary. Her aunt, Helen Jones, died in April. She was never cremated and was recovered last week inside the mortuary.

"'I'm sorry, but to read that and to know this is the way they treated our loved ones? It's heartless," she said, breaking down at one point.

The facility's landlord stopped by quickly to face the Stewart's face to face. He prayed with them but asked not to be identified.

In the arrest warrant affidavit, Dondre Johnson said his wife Rachel was in charge of the place, but she said she had been absent from work because of a recent childbirth. She told investigators that Dondre wasn't good at keeping up with the administrative work to bury and cremate the bodies.

News 8 asked police why the Johnsons are only each facing seven abuse of corpse charges if there were eight bodies left behind; they wouldn't elaborate.

Legal experts tell News 8 it is possible more charges could be coming.


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