TRENTON — Eighteen bodies of individuals who died from COVID-19 were removed from a funeral home on Thursday night, New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said Friday.

The superintendent's statements corrected and clarified earlier media reports saying at least 19 bodies had been removed from Anderson Funeral Service on North Willow Street. An earlier version of this article cited a Trentonian report saying the same.

Callahan said State Police and Trenton Police were among the agencies responding, and found no criminal wrongdoing by the funeral home. He described it the situation as one in which the funeral home's management became overwhelmed by the number of bodies it was caring for.

In the time since the bodies were discovered, 11 were moved to a temporary morgue site, he said. Another seven remained at the funeral home awaiting services over the next few days, he said.

 

A spokesman for Mayor Reed Guiciora's office told New Jersey 101.5 early Friday he was working with Trenton police to gather more information about the situation but said no charges had been filed.

Callahan at the beginning of April said the state ordered at least 20 refrigerated trucks, including some donated by Wawa, to serve as temporary morgues for 1,680 bodies.

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The city of Trenton had reported 1,299 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 17 deaths  among its residents as of Thursday according to the city website.  Mercer County has had 3,937 positive cases and 231 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.

Police were called to a Brooklyn funeral home on Wednesday night, where management rented four trucks filled with ice to hold about 50 corpses.

The Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center in Sussex County stored 17 bodies in a morgue meant for less than a half dozen before a tipster alerted police and had to be removed by police on Easter weekend.

The state Department of Health has not yet returned messages early Friday morning about the Trenton incident. An answering service for the funeral home said no staff is in the building until later in the morning.

Correction: A headline an on earlier version of this story incorrectly described the facility as a nursing home, instead of a funeral home.

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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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