Region 8 funeral worker accused of body-snatching

By Janice Broach - bio | email

FORREST CITY, AR (WMC-TV) - A worker at a Mid-South funeral home is accused of soliciting families for their loved one's bodies - a case of body snatching now being investigating by the state of Arkansas.     

Body snatching sounds morbid and insensitive, but that's exactly what the state of Arkansas says happened in Forrest City, Arkansas.

"As fast as I could pick them up, they would come and get the bodies," said Pearline Woodhouse, owner of Woodhouse Mortuary.

Woodhouse said she had more than a dozen bodies taken, including some she had already embalmed taken. It was most of her business for the year. She believes an employee at rival a funeral home, Kincaid Funeral Services, was hustling her bodies.

Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Funeral Directors Board explained why a body might be moved from one funeral home to another.  Usually, the spokesperson said, a body is already at one funeral home when a so-called 'body snatcher' tells the person's family they perform services better, and for a lower cost.

"You can't hold a body for ransom," Woodhouse said. "That's against the law, so I just had to deal with it."

Woodhouse dealt with it by complaining to the state.  The Arkansas State Board of Embalmers and Funeral directors ruled Kincaid employee Miles Kimble violated the state regulation banning solicitation.  The 21-year-old's funeral directors license was suspended.

Kimble said his attorney would not allow him to comment for this story.

Meanwhile, Woodhouse did get some satisfaction. After her complaint, the state enacted new regulations requiring funeral homes to reimburse the funeral home that initially handled the body.

"Things have changed since this has happened," she said. "I've had four funerals."

Miles Kimble still works at Kincaid Funeral Services, but he is not a funeral director. Kincaid plans to appeal the board's decision.

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