Published January 15, 2013
DETROIT – A man who was arrested in the theft of his father's corpse from a Detroit cemetery stored the body in a freezer after a weekend funeral, hoping for it to be miraculously resurrected, police said Tuesday.
Clarence Bright's 48-year-old religious son was arrested along with another man after officers found an empty casket inside their van at a gas station, Detroit police said.
"This is a very, very bizarre situation," Leon Jones, a mortician's assistant at Swanson Funeral Home, told The Associated Press. The funeral home handled Bright's funeral.
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 93-year-old's burial. The casket was placed near a chapel or a mausoleum on cemetery grounds and remained there through Monday morning when it was reported stolen, Jones said.
Acting on a tip that a white van had been seen at the cemetery, police spotted one parked at a gas station Tuesday — the men and the empty casket were inside, Officer George Day said.
The body was later found in a freezer at the home of Bright's son, Lt. Harold Rochon told The Detroit News (http://bit.ly/ZUviFC ).
"In the interview with the son, he was very, very, very distraught," Rochon said. "He is very religious, and he was hoping his father would be resurrected. He was hoping for a miracle."
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.
Across the street from the home where the body was found, 36-year-old Terri Gaines said she didn't have much contact with Bright's son.
"He's so quiet. He just goes in and out. He never had company," Gaines told the AP.
Jones said there was nothing unusual at the weekend funeral.
"People come in, they're grieving," he said. "We just try to comfort people."