ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Stealing a corpse is a grave offense in Illinois and is considered a Class 4 felony. However, if the corpse is stolen for sexual purposes, the penalties are even more severe.
Over the weekend, a van containing a dead body was stolen from a Rockford funeral home. The van was recovered in Chicago on Monday, but the body was missing.
The body of the 47-year-old man was found later Monday, in an alley about 2 blocks away from where the van was found.
Rockford Police released photos of the suspect in the case, but he has not yet been identified or arrested.
What kind of penalty would the suspect face for stealing a body, under Illinois law?
According to Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/12-20.6, a person who removes or carries away a corpse and is not authorized by law to do so can be convicted of a Class 4 felony, which carries a penalty of not less than 1 year and no more than 3 years in prison. Special modifiers allow a judge to impose a sentence of up to 6 years.
Worse, a person who engages in sexual conduct with a corpse can be convicted of a Class 2 felony, which carries a stiffer penalty, of no less than 3 years and no more than 7 years in prison. Special modifiers, in that case, could allow a judge to impose a sentence of up to 14 years.
Funeral directors, embalmers, cemetery or medical personnel, are exempted from these rules if they are performing the duties of their job.
The charges brought in this type of case would be considered Abuse of a Corpse in Illinois.