Every once in a while you'll come across a news story that makes you wonder if the world we live in could possibly get any moretwisted or sick. And you think, "No, the world we live couldn't possibly get any more twisted or sick because this story that I'm reading right now is seriously twisted and sick." And then you hear about how agrandma's dead body was stolen out of a cemetery 16 years after she was laid to rest. And you're dumbfounded.
Pauline Spinelli died in 1996 at the age of 98. She was entombed with five other family members in a mausoleum in cemetery in New Jersey. Last week, her body -- just her body -- was stolen. Somebody broke into the mausoleum, smashed a heavy marble slab, pried open her aluminum casket, and took off with the body. At around noon this past Saturday, the empty coffin was found and the police were notified. As of now there aren't any leads, but Spinelli's family members think that the theft may have something to do with a cult. Pauline's grandson, Rocco Spinelli, said: "What can these people possibly be believing in to take a 16-year-old dead body. I don’t want to see somebody desecrate her body, chop her up, or make some kind of voodoo dust out of her.” The cops are currently investigating all motives, but they were quick to point out that there are no security cameras near the Spinelli mausoleum.
Security cameras? Wait, there are security cameras at cemeteries now? That's really a thing? People who aren't alive now need to be monitored too? Because other people -- people who are alive -- might steal them?
Talk about twisted and sick.
Whoever took Pauline's body -- be it a group, a cult, or a person -- may want to reconsider what they did and return the body to its rightful place (you know, before there are any cameras put in), for Grandma Spinelli doesn't sound like she's one to make things easy for them. According to Rocco: “If anything works in their minds, grandmom’s going to hauntthem for the rest of their lives.”
Do you think there should be security cameras in cemeteries?
I totally agree! I believe there should be security cameras in cemeteries! But, only to catch thieves and to prevent desecration of tombs and bodies. I also believe there should always be someone on duty, a security guard, during the hours of operation for the burial grounds and that there should be a sign in sheet kept.
This would be a valuable tool, because it would force everyone to stop, have their license plate number and drivers license number written down, as well as their name, the sign in time, etc. It would keep a register of who is in the vehicle, the ages, relation to deceased in the cemetery, etc. This information could then be kept on record and would also help genealogists in the future as well!
As for the people who committed this egregious act, I hope they are caught, but it sounds more like "an inside job"; somebody was hard up for cash in the family and wanted grandma's pearls or what ever was buried with her. I do not believe it would have been "a cult". It seems to me like someone knew exactly where to go and exactly who to go to...this does not seem like some random "hit and run"...
I would take a look into all Mrs. Spinelli's family member's financial records and such over the last year and see who has the most motive and the most financial problems and who, if anyone, has a criminal record...that will give you the lead you need to find the culprit(s)...
The body would have been heavy, just as heavy in death as it was in life, due to the embalming chemicals and such that is used, give or take 20 pounds. More over, there would have had to be more than one person involved, so that the body could be carried away as well as the tools used to break and enter into the tomb.
I would take a look into the cameras on the streets surrounding the cemetery over a period of a few weeks. Someone would have had to "case out the joint" prior to the job being performed, for a reasonable amount of time. See if there were a lot of comings and goings from the same people and/or vehicles...think like a detective...that's what we genealogists do....
Grave robbers broke into a mausoleum in New Jersey and stole the body of woman who died in 1996.
By Andrew Mach, NBC News
A woman’s body was stolen from her grave last week, 16 years after she was laid to rest in a New Jersey cemetery.
“I’m going to miss grandma, even though she’s dead,” Pauline’s grandson, Rocco Spinelli told NBCPhiladelpia.com. “They’re sick people, they’re crazy.” Police are searching for the people responsible for stealing the body of Pauline Spinelli, who was entombed with five other family members in a mausoleum located in a secluded area of Atlantic City Cemetery in Pleasantville, N.J. She died in 1996 at the age of 98.
Cemetery officials discovered the empty coffin around noon on Saturday and alerted police to the theft.Police say sometime late Thursday or early Friday of last week, someone removed the lock from the mausoleum, got inside, smashed a heavy marble slab, pried open an aluminum casket, and left with Spinelli’s body.
“The glass was broken by some type of means,” Pleasantville Police Capt. Rocky Melendez told NBCPhiladelphia.com. “The person who came here came with the tools necessary to break into that.”
Police have no leads, but they believe several people likely used heavy duty tools to break into the mausoleum and steal Pauline from her final resting place.
Family members say they believe that a cult has something to do with the theft of Pauline’s body.
“What can these people possibly be believing in to take a 16-year-old dead body?” Spinelli said. “I don’t want to see somebody desecrate her body, chop her up or make some kind of voodoo dust out of her.”
Police say they're investigating all possible motives in the case.
Melendez said other areas of the state have dealt with similar incidents before, including in 2006 when police arrested Michael Mastromarino, the CEO of a New Jersey human tissue recovery firm and the head of a body snatching ring. Mastromarino and his employees netted millions of dollars illegally harvesting human bones, organs, tissue and other cadaver parts from more than a thousand individuals awaiting cremation.
Police say they are reaching out to other police departments in New Jersey. There are no security cameras near the Spinelli mausoleum.
“If you’re done with her, bring her back,” Spinelli said. “If anything works in their minds, grandmom’s going to haunt them for the rest of their lives.”