Funeral Humor: Bizarre Funeral Home Signs

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, from the staff at James Patton Funeral Directors.

Indy 500 Winner Killed in Vegas Crash

British IndyCar Driver Dan Wheldon Dead Following 15-car Wreck in Sunday’s Las Vegas Indy 300. More on the accident.

Ex-Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh Found Dead In Chicago Hotel

Chicago, Illinois

Former Weezer bass player Mikey Welsh, who also found success in his second career as an artist, died in a Chicago hotel room, police said Sunday.

Chicago police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said Welsh was supposed to check out of the Raffaello Hotel at 1 p.m. Saturday. When he didn’t, hotel staff went to his room, entered it and found him unconscious and not breathing, Kubiak said.

The cause of death was undetermined pending toxicology tests, according to an autopsy performed Sunday by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Test results could take up to six weeks, authorities said. Kubiak said there’s nothing to indicate foul play.

Welsh, 40, of Burlington, Vt., performed with Weezer from 1998 to 2001, leaving after suffering a nervous breakdown, according to the band’s website. He eventually established himself in a second career as a painter.

“I’m taking a break from music,” he told MetroWest Daily News in 2002. “I really feel the need to reinvent myself and move on, and I couldn’t be happier painting. Music is still an important part of my life, but I really have no desire to actually play it.”

Police Say Parents Locked Boy In Coffin

Lori Gardner, Brian Sleboda

Police in Pennsylvania have arrested the parents of a 7-year-old boy, who was forced to wear a diaper and locked in a coffin in the basement.

According to the Scranton Times-Tribune, neighbors heard the boy crying and called the police. When the police arrived, the boy was wearing a diaper and was bound with tape. “Are you here to help me?” he asked the responding officer.

The boy told police that his mother and step father often locked him in the coffin or the basement as punishment. He said that they sometimes bound the coffin shut with duct tape and told him there were ghosts  living in the basement.

The boy’s parents, Lori Gardner, 26, and stepfather Brian Sleboda, 31, were not around initially, but turned themselves in to police eight days after the boy was found and four days after the charges were formally  filed. The child had to be questioned before they were arrested.

Gardner admitted to duct taping her son’s arms and legs and locking him in the coffin, but told police they were only playing a game.

Police found the coffin and a bug-infested broken toilet in the basement. The only light source in the room was a “Camel Exotic Blends” lighting hanging over a bar.

The house has been condemned for “unsafe for human habitation.” Authorities say an inspection revealed the home had electrical issues, fire damage and was infested with bugs.

Gardner and Sleboda were ordered taken to Lackawanna County Prison on Tuesday in lieu of $60,000 bail each.

Police: Funeral Director Sexually Abused Child

Funeral Director Byron Griffy

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Otero County Sheriff’s Office says 75-year-old funeral director Byron Griffy, of Fowler, has been taken into custody and charged with sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.

Investigators say the alleged abuse occurred over the course of the last two years. Griffy’s bond was set at $10,000 and he bonded out of the Otero County Jail.

Funeral Director Charged After Stealing Thousands From Grieving Widow: Police Suspect More Victims

Louisville, Kentucky

While this story broke earlier, police believe there may be more victims and are asking them to come forward

A funeral home director is facing charges after police say she stole thousands of dollars from an elderly widow.

According to Louisville Metro Police, the funeral director, Maureen Purcell, met the 89-year-old victim when she came into Ratterman Brothers Funeral Home in St. Matthews. Police say the victim went there to have her husband’s remains cremated. They say Purcell then befriended the woman, knowing she had no family nearby.

Police say Purcell was able to get power of attorney over the victim, and at that point started stealing from her almost every day.

Purcell was released from jail on her own recognizance. Police say she admitted to stealing $8,000 out of the $10,000 that she’s charged with.

The Ratterman Brothers Funeral Home says they are completely surprised by the arrest. Purcell has a bad credit history, and has had several lawsuits filed against her.