Detroit police say son hoped to resurrect father

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jan 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-15 18:50:00-05

UPDATE: Jan. 15, 6:52 p.m.

DETROIT (AP)-- Detroit police say a man arrested in the theft of his father's corpse had hoped the body would return to life.

Lt. Harold Rochon tells The Detroit News ( that the son is "very religious" and was "hoping his father would be resurrected."

The 48-year-old man is in custody after police found the body of Clarence Bright in the son's home Tuesday.

Rochon tells the newspaper that the son bought a freezer to store the body.

Bright's funeral was Saturday but the burial was delayed. The body was reported stolen Monday. Bright's son and another man were arrested Tuesday while inside a van with an empty casket.

Police say the body is being returned to the family for burial.


DETROIT (AP)-- Police arrested a man Tuesday in the theft of his father's corpse, which was taken from a cemetery before it could be buried and was found in the son's basement.

Clarence Bright's 48-year-old son was arrested with another man when officers found them with an empty casket inside a van at a gas station, Officer George Day said.

Police did not disclose a motive for the theft of the body.

"The details, his mental state - I can't comment on," Stephens said.

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 burial of the 93-year-old.

The casket was placed near a chapel or a mausoleum on cemetery grounds and remained there through Monday morning when it was reported stolen, said Leon Jones, a mortician's assistant at Swanson Funeral Home, which handled Bright's funeral.

"This is a very, very bizarre situation," Jones said.

Acting on a tip that a white van had been seen at the cemetery around the time the body was taken, police spotted one parked at a gas station Tuesday, with the men and the empty casket inside, Day said.

Within an hour, investigators contacted by family located Bright's body a few blocks away in the basement of a bungalow that belongs to the arrested son, Sgt. Eren Stephens said.

"Nothing seems to be wrong with the body," Day told reporters. "Hopefully, the family can now get the body back and give it a proper burial."

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, resident Terri Gaines, 36, 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 said.

Jones said there was nothing unusual at the weekend funeral.

"People come in, they're grieving," he said. "We just try to comfort people."