On Thursday morning, a stolen hearse with a woman’s corpse was found after it crashed during a hot pursuit on a freeway in Los Angeles. The officers from the Los Angeles Police Department began chasing the vehicle at around 7:35 a.m. following a tip-off from a good Samaritan who reported the stolen vehicle, a black Lincoln Navigator belonging to an Arcadia mortuary.
The police said a casket and body was found inside the stolen hearse, though the deceased body is not related to the church.
The suspect, James Juarez, 25, was taken into custody and is facing felony grand theft auto charges. He’s being held on $35000 bail.
Soon after the hearse was stolen, the officers began searching for the hearse. The vehicle with a dead body inside we stolen from outside St. Anthony’s Church on Rosemead Boulevard in Pasadena on Wednesday just after 8.00 p.m.
The incident happened at a time when the church was holding a prayer service known as Trisagion on Wednesday evening. The service is often held the night before a funeral in the Greek Orthodox tradition. A funeral was set to take place the following morning, though the body in the stolen hearse isn’t related to the church.
Officials say that the hearse stopped by the church to drop a body inside the church. It’s alleged that there were two corpses in the stolen hearse. The mortuary attendant brought one of them inside the church, while the other one remained in the hearse parked outside the church.
While it was initially reported that the missing body was inside a casket, investigations later revealed that the woman’s body was in a body bag instead.
A few minutes to 8 a.m. on Thursday, the officers began chasing the vehicle after the driver failed to stop. However, the hearse finally came to a stop when it crashed on the southbound lanes, hitting several other vehicles near Vernon Avenue in South Los Angeles.
Soon after the vehicle came to a stop, cops closed the southbound lanes near downtown Los Angeles, as investigations kicked off. It wasn’t clear when the lanes would reopen.
Minutes after 10 a.m. Sky FOX captured aerial images of officials transferring the corpse from the damaged hearse to another Lincoln Navigator in the City of Vernon. While the body isn’t linked to the church, officials say it was transferred back to Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church late Thursday morning for identification.