Cult activity is suspected but there are no leads.
Pleasantville police say someone broke into a mausoleum at Greenwood Cemetery on Thursday night or Friday morning and stole the body of Pauline Spinelli. She died in 1996 at the age of 98.
Police say the body may have been taken for use in some sort of ritual.
Tip: @RickAlanRoss on Twitter
More details are here:
Police said the sanctity of the tomb was shattered possibly with a boulder that still sits by the door.
“They then went through [the] process of forcibly removing the lock,” said Pleasantville Police Captain Rocky Melendez.
Melendez said once inside, someone broke and moved the stone that covered Spinelli’s interment space.
“The casket had been removed, had been pried open,” he said.
Understandably, this is causing great distress and confusion for the family. Why this woman?
The police have not confirmed cult activity but are fairly certain that the thieves were not after valuables like jewelry since nothing was left behind.
More information is welcome about any “cults” that would want human remains. Please leave in comments.
UPDATE (1-Aug-2012): This story has hit national news. Not surprising due to it’s oddness. Cult expert Rick Alan Ross, where I obtained this story, is quoted in this piece from ABC News.
The family thinks a satanic cult took the remains for a ritual.
“We did a lot of research and my husband found a group online that uses bodies in some kind of a ritual and they need the bones for their ritual. The group is called Palo. [...]” she said. “Who else would want a body?”
Palo, a religion that uses black magic and originated in the Caribbean, is highly unlikely to have been the reason why Spinelli’s remains were stolen, said cult expert Rick Ross.
“The likelihood they would go into a mausoleum and drag out a body seems remote. Usually these hybrid religious groups [including Palo] use chicken and other animal bones,” Ross said. “Typically these acts end up being individual perpetrators not linked to an organized group.”
So, the default by the public is “Satanic”. Again. Even though there is little evidence such “cults” exist at all. A lay person doing research is not a good reason to accept a certain cause. I’d rely on the people who actually study culture and religion instead. But, until the perpetrators are found and their motives discerned, we just don’t know WHY they would commit this disturbing crime.