Smyrna Woman Charged With Abusing a Corpse - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Smyrna Woman Charged With Abusing a Corpse

(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

SMYRNA, Del.- Delaware State Police say detectives have arrested a Smyrna woman after she failed to report the death of her boyfriend and then hid him in a box.

Ariane J. Clark, 56, is charged with abusing a corpse, which is a misdemeanor.

Police said detectives received an anonymous tip on Wednesday, Jan. 16, informing them there was a body located at a home on Spruce Court in Holly Hill Estates in Smyrna.  Detectives from the DSP Homicide Unit and the Troop 3 Criminal Investigations Unit responded to the home, where they came into contact with Clark, who lived there with her 60-year-old boyfriend. Detectives were soon informed by Clark that her boyfriend was deceased and located in a box in a rear bedroom, according to police. 
Police said Clark was transported back to Troop 3 that afternoon and information was obtained through interviews that her boyfriend had died in the afternoon of Jan. 6, shortly after she had returned from completing some errands. Police said Clark began getting her boyfriend's paperwork in order before she called the authorities and noticed his passport had expired. 

Detectives said Clark, who is originally from Germany, became panicked because she was under the impression the victim, who is also from Germany, was illegally in the United States and she would be in trouble for supporting an illegal alien. Clark then placed the victim in a large garbage bag before positioning him inside the wooden footlocker and sealing it with duct tape, police said. 

Clark was released later that evening as detectives continued their investigation into the incident.
Detectives went into the rear bedroom of the home where they said they found a wooden footlocker sealed with duct tape and covered by a blanket. Upon locating the footlocker, detectives obtained a search warrant for the home before the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner removed the box and its contents and transported them to its office in Georgetown.

The medical examiner determined that the contents of the box were that of a male. Police said an autopsy of the remains was conducted on Thursday, Jan. 17, and the cause of death has been ruled undetermined at this time.  The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and positive identification.
Clark was arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 23, and charged with the aforementioned offense.  She was released on $5,000 unsecured bond pending a court hearing in the Court of Common Pleas.
The DSP Homicide Unit is continuing its investigation into this incident.

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