Corpus Delicti: Historic Illinois Cemetary Accused of Digging Up and Reselling Graves While Oklahoma Couple Accused of Traveling With Corpse

abel_wolf_mugshotdenise_wolf_mugshotOfficials and workers at the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois have been accused of digging up and dumping bodies in older plots in order to resell plots in a criminal scheme. In the meantime, an Oklahoma couple Abel Wolf, 35, and Denise Wolf, 40, (shown here) has been accused of digging up the body of a young girl and moving the body around the country.

Abel Wolf, 35, and Denise Wolf, 40, were charged in Oklahoma with the unlawful removal of a body — believed to be Abel Wolf’s 11-year-old daughter Cheyenne. Relatives had reported Cheyenne missing after the Wolf’s left the state.

Police say that they found the remains in a storage unit in Oregon. Cheyenne’s death was itself curious. It occurred after she was in trouble for not eating dinner and Abel said that he heard a thump that night and found Cheyene dead the next morning.

Police say that Abel “put Cheyenne Wolf’s body in a sleeping bag and then put her body into a large plastic tub.” He then allegedly stored her in a shed and then later buried her under a deck — and eventually put her in storage. For the full story, click here.

keith+nicks_maurice+nicksIn Illinois, greed appears the alleged motivation for cemetery workers digging up more than 100 graves and dumping the remains — to resell the plots. The Burr Oak is a historic cemetery that holds the bodies of Emmett Till, blues legend Dinah Washington, Negro League baseball players, and other famous African-Americans. Four people have been arrested thus far.

Both common law torts and criminal law have protections against the mishandling of corpses. In torts, this claim is one of the oldest forms of both intentional and negligent claims.

For the full story, click here.

Notably, environmentalists have long objected to the traditional concept of burial with the use of permanent occupation of land and the infusion of bodies with chemicals. There is a new movement supporting the use of biodegradable coffins made of such things as bananas sheaves and old newspaper. Fourteen funeral homes sell banana-leaf or bamboo coffins from such companies as Ecoffins USA, based in Montrose, Colorado — which sells “environmentally comforting options.” The coffins take six months to two years to degrade.

For the coffin story, click here.

4 thoughts on “Corpus Delicti: Historic Illinois Cemetary Accused of Digging Up and Reselling Graves While Oklahoma Couple Accused of Traveling With Corpse”

  1. Very sad situation. My wife had a friend when we were growing up in Skokie that died at the local pool and then her body was stolen from the funeral home and they found the body in the alley with the garbage some distance from the funeral home. The story was big news in the Chicago TV news and it just seemed unreal at the time. The family was just dealt a second blow that was almost as bad as the young girl dying at the pool. I imagine that the family members of these deceased individuals must be experiencing the bad memories of the respective deaths, all over again.

  2. We humans live and we die. Our plans for a touch of immortality in our grave sites is perhaps 75 to 100 years at best, at most privately owned cemeteries. The reason is astoundingly easy to see. Limited space and the need for upkeep and gardening equals
    diminishing future profits. In a mercantile country that leads to reuse of graves unlikely to be discovered by deceased family.
    Perhaps the odds are better in a place like Arlington, but after 100’s of years I wouldn’t bet on it. When I’m gone, I don’t care what is done to me and I’ve let my loved ones know. I honor my deceased parents, family and friends, but I don’t need a gravesite to engender that honor.

  3. The cream always rises to the top, even coffins with enough freeze and/or rain. May I suggest a Concrete Vault? It helps keep the coffin down.

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