The Wichita Eagle reports that the casket was dug up in February because a family wanted to exhume a relative who died in the early 1990s so they could have the body cremated. Lt. James Espinoza said the cemetery doesn’t accept used caskets, so the family made arrangements to have the casket hauled away.
The hauling company transported the casket to its facility to be discarded. But Espinoza said thieves stole the casket before the facility’s staff could get rid of it. The hauling company chose not to report the theft to police.
“We believe they were probably looking to scrap the casket,” Espinoza said of the thieves. “They did strip it of its handles. They learned pretty quickly no one was going to take it. According to Espinoza, the thieves did not know what to do with the casket so they threw it on the side of the road.
Examining the coffin did not result in any clues about the thieves, and the hauling company does not have any security cameras at the storage site where the coffin was taken.
Police were aided in their investigation by the serial number on the casket and by residents, who came forward and said they recognized the casket from images that were released to the public.
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