Can You Get in Trouble for Stealing From the Dead?
A Texas woman was arrested by Odessa police and charged with theft from a human corpse after video from a funeral home showed her reaching into an open casket and removing something from a female corpse. That something turned out to be a ring, valued at just $10, and could land the woman in state jail for two years.
Beyond the lack of respect for the dead, and the general creepiness, this woman displayed an apparent lack of concern for the legal consequences of messing with a dead body. But as Texas' statute illustrates, you can get into a lot of trouble stealing from dead people.
Putting the "Fun" in Funeral
But Kalynn Homfeld, corpse thief, isn't the first to try some shady shenanigans at a funeral or wake. Here are a few tips on keeping it legal when laying someone to rest:
- Keep the Dead's Possessions With the Dead: For example, stealing a Fender guitar from a grave is a definite no-no;
- Keep Your Hands off the Hearse: Stealing a funeral home's Cadillac, DURING THE FUNERAL, is the antithesis of a joyride;
- Keep Track of the Cocaine: Snorting someone's ashes is not cool, dude, very not cool; and
- Keep the Pot Brownies at Home: You know what? Maybe just don't bring any drugs to a funeral.
Putting the "Oh Fu--" in Funeral Home
It's not just guests, employees, and random passersby that need to be on their best behavior around burials -- funeral homes are prone to the odd slip-up as well. Homes have been known to prepare the wrong corpse, bury the wrong corpse, put the right corpse in the wrong crypt, or lose a body completely.
These cases can sound comedic, but for families of the loved ones involved, the results can be tragic. You can sue for mortuary negligence, and states don't take kindly to grave-robbers and corpse-thieves.
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- Police Arrest Woman Suspected of Stealing Ring From Corpse (ABC News)
- Home Burial: The Option of Resting Peacefully at Home (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Monks, Morticians, and a Casket Racket (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
- Grave Matters: How to Sue a Cemetery (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
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