Jan 25 - Police: Smyrna woman hid dead boyfriend's body in bedroom chest
|Jan 25 - Police: Smyrna woman hid dead boyfriend's body in bedroom chest|
A 56-year-old Smyrna woman was arrested Wednesday after police found the body of her dead boyfriend stuffed inside a wooden chest in a bedroom of the home they shared, police said today.
Ariane J. Clark, of the first block of Spruce Court in Holly Hill Estates, was charged with misdemeanor abuse of a corpse and released on $5,000 unsecured bail, Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said.
The name of the victim is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of his family.
The investigation began Jan. 16, when detectives received an anonymous tip from a male caller who said there was a dead body in Clark’s home, Fournier said.
The tipster said Clark had called him shortly after 11 a.m. that day and said her boyfriend had died 10 days earlier and his body was still in the home, Fournier said. He also told police he thought she’d said her boyfriend “had st@bbed himself to [rip],” he said.
When homicide detectives met with the caller that day, he told them he’d spoken to another woman who also had received a call from Clark, who had said the body was “inside of a box,” Fournier said.
When police went to Clark’s home, she told them she lived there with her 60-year-old boyfriend, who had died recently.
She went on to say that his body was in a bedroom in the rear of the single-wide trailer, inside a 2-by-3-foot wooden foot locker that was placed in the middle of the room and covered by a blanket, police said.
Detectives found the box, which they described as having “silver duct tape covering all the seams.”
Clark was taken to Troop 3 in Camden to be questioned further, Fournier said. During the interview, Clark said that her bedridden boyfriend, who was in failing health, died the afternoon of Jan. 6 “within minutes” of her returning from visiting an elderly neighbor and picking up the Sunday newspaper.
As she was getting ready to notify authorities, Clark said, she gathered her German boyfriend’s paperwork, identification and passport and discovered that his passport was expired, Fournier said.
Clark, who also is of German descent and has been in the United States since 1997, saw the “leisure-type visa” and[..]umed he was in the United States illegally, according to court records.
She panicked, thinking she would be in trouble for harboring an illegal immigrant, police said.
Clark also was concerned because her boyfriend’s deteriorating health had left him with “a large bed sore on his entire back and a partially detached right foot,” according to court records.
In her panic, she said, she placed the man’s body inside three “large, leaf-style garbage bags and sealed the end with duct tape,” then placed the remains inside her grandfather’s wooden chest, police said.
Later, she moved the body three times: from the chest to a large metal suitcase, then inside a plastic tote and finally placed the tote back inside the wooden chest, which she sealed with duct tape, police said.
The box and its contents were taken to the Stockley Center in Georgetown, where it was determined that the decomposing remains were those of a man, Fournier said.
The [rip] was ruled undetermined following a Jan. 17 autopsy.
Clark told detectives that until her divorce in 2007, she had been living with her husband in Dayton, Ohio.
She said she met her late boyfriend over the Internet and came to Delaware to live with him. The couple purchased a mobile home together in Smyrna “sometime in 2008,” according to court records.
When reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Clark said, “I don’t want a story, and I don’t want to comment.”
Detectives, meanwhile, continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the [rip].
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