Dead Weight

A Family Affair

Some years ago, a man and woman lived in a ramshackle house, a patchwork of wood, brick, concrete block, and tar paper, in a rural community. The couple had been married for several decades but had an open marriage characterized by numerous affairs by both. The wife had been caught embezzling $2 million from her former employer who said he would not press charges if the money was repaid. The wife paid off approximately half of the debt from an inheritance, leaving her still $1 million short. Doing some quick accounting, the wife determined she could sell the husband’s metal sculpting equipment for most of the remaining amount.

First, however, she had to dispose of her husband. On the surface her plan seemed good but was actually fraught with problems. She planned to kill her husband on the night of July 4th, when a nearby fireworks show would cover the sound of gunshots. That part of the plan went off without a hitch, shooting the husband three times in the head as he slept. Unfortunately, the wife was 5’5″ tall and weighed 115 pounds, whereas the husband was 6’2″ and weighed 240 pounds, and that’s when the plan began to go south. Only after shooting him did the wife realize that she couldn’t even get him out of bed, let alone dispose of the body.

She then went and bought a furniture dolly, dragged the husband over to it, and somehow managed to load him into the bed of a pickup truck. At some point, she wrapped the husband in a blue tarp and secured it with duct tape. Driving to the back of the house, she tried to dig a grave in the back yard but couldn’t because the ground was too hard. The only option at this point was to bury him on top of the ground and put something on top to disguise the grave. An elevated concrete pad provided the perfect location. The wife then placed the body beside the concrete pad and went to the local Home Depot to buy concrete block to provide the other three sides of the grave and PVC pipe to cover it. Once the other sides of the grave were complete, she then took a wheelbarrow across the street and made numerous trips to bring back dirt from an ongoing construction project. On top of the dirt, she placed PVC pipe.

Once friends and family began to notice the absence of the husband, local law enforcement came to question the wife, who promptly fled to another state and was subsequently captured. Law enforcement personnel, suspecting that the wife had killed the husband, brought in a cadaver dog that soon alerted to the grave beside the concrete pad. The investigators then called and requested the services of a forensic anthropologist.

Upon arriving at the scene, Dr. Snow was taken to the suspected grave. Few graves have been as obvious as this one. Approximately seven feet in length, three feet wide, dirt-filled, and covered with PVC pipe, the grave was completely out of place. Looking through the spaces in the concrete block, the bottom was covered with several inches of wiggling maggots, and the smell of decomposition was strong. From that point on, it was simply a matter of removing the PVC pipe and dirt to get to the tarp-wrapped remains, which were identified as the husband at autopsy. The wife was sentenced to life in prison.