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Son arrested in theft of dad's body from cemetery

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | 2:49 PM    

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DETROIT (AP) — Police arrested a man Tuesday in the theft of his father's corpse, which was taken from a cemetery before it could be buried and was found in the son's basement.

Clarence Bright's 48-year-old son was arrested with another man when officers found them with an empty casket inside a van at a gas station, Officer George Day said.

Police did not disclose a motive for the theft of the body.

Bright's final earthly journey was supposed to end Saturday at Gethsemane Cemetery on Detroit's east side, but soggy ground from recent rain postponed the burial of the 93-year-old.

The casket was placed near a chapel or a mausoleum on cemetery grounds and remained there through Monday morning when it was reported stolen, said Leon Jones, a mortician's assistant at Swanson Funeral Home, which handled Bright's funeral.

Acting on a tip that a white van had been seen at the cemetery around the time the body was taken, police spotted one parked at a gas station Tuesday, with the men and the empty casket inside, Day said.

Within an hour, investigators contacted by family located Bright's body a few blocks away in the basement of a bungalow that belongs to the arrested son, Sergeant Eren Stephens said.

"Nothing seems to be wrong with the body," Day told reporters. "Hopefully, the family can now get the body back and give it a proper burial."

Police declined to release the names of Bright's son or the 38-year-old man who was with him. They had not been charged and the theft remained under investigation.

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