An employee of a funeral home in Florida has been found dead after allegedly being caught sexually abusing a corpse.
Police were alerted to the incident at Oak Lawn Funeral Home in Pensacola on Tuesday morning, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office told Newsweek. Another employee had called authorities after walking in on the suspect “actively engaging in sexual activity with a corpse.”
A spokesperson for the force said that the suspect had fled the property by the time officers arrived at the funeral home.
Later that morning, while still attempting to locate the suspect, police were alerted to a possible dead body at the intersection of North Blue Angel Parkway and Alekai Drive on the western outskirts of the city, approximately a 10-minute drive from the funeral home.
When officers attended, they found the suspect lying dead next to the vehicle with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, the spokesperson said. The name of the suspect has not yet been released, nor has the name of the deceased they allegedly abused.
In a statement, Oak Lawn Funeral Home said: “Out of respect for the privacy and confidentiality of the families…and the privacy of our associates, we are not in a position to comment on this matter. We will continue to fully cooperate with the sheriff’s office on any investigation.”
Police are now investigating to ascertain the full details of the incident.
“It is disturbing; I’m glad it wasn’t my mum that was here,” Tim Brown, a bereaved customer who was finalizing the burial details for his father, told WEAR-TV. “It does give me second thoughts, but I think he’s already been cremated so I think he’s safe.”
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, there are over 18,000 funeral homes across the United States as of April 2022. Reported cases of employees sexually abusing dead bodies are relatively rare.
Perhaps the most prolific necrophiliac in living memory in the U.S. is Kenneth Douglas, who claimed to have had sex with as many as a hundred corpses while working night shifts at the Hamilton County, Ohio morgue between 1976 and 1992.
Douglas was charged and convicted of three cases of gross abuse of a corpse, after advances in DNA technology identified semen found on one of the bodies as belonging to him.
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Update 01/18/23, 11:30 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.