Police and the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office searched the Sauvageot Funeral Home on Friday morning.
Neighbors said owner Mark Sauvageot vanished a few years ago. The state also revoked Sauvageot's license.
"He was just a weird bird," recalled Alexander Jozsa Bodnar, who owns a restaurant a half-block away.
Spencer Geibel, the manager of the nearby Elmer Herman Funeral Home, said many people called him over the years, trying to find out what had happened to their loved one's remains.
Yet Geibel said many people in the community also "loved" Sauvageot.
"He was definitely revered for a very long time, and then it fell apart very quickly," he said of Sauvageot, who had run the funeral home since about 1987.
Sauvageot's large brick and stone building has been boarded up since about 2008.
The medical examiner says 17 of the human remains have been identified, and an additional 30 animal remains were found. Authorities plan to release additional details Monday.
Sauvageot reportedly lives in Follansbee, W.V., but a working phone number couldn't be located for an address listed under his name.