DENVER (KDVR) — Earlier in October, a private mausoleum at Crown Hill Cemetery was broken into overnight and body parts were stolen. On Tuesday night, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s investigators issued a warrant and arrested John Wayne Belknap, 46. They said they were able to identify him from evidence left at the scene.
“He left behind some DNA evidence, and we were able to process that and ID the suspect,” Jenny Fulton, director of public affairs for the sheriff’s office, told FOX31’s Greg Nieto.
At 7:20 a.m. on Oct. 11, JCSO was called to the cemetery where investigators found damage to the crypt front on the mausoleum and damage to the crypt and casket inside.
According to the sheriff’s office, it appeared someone forced entry into the crypt and accessed the casket overnight. The casket was pried open and parts of the body were removed.
“He didn’t speak with our investigators, so we don’t know the motive or the reason why he would have stolen body parts from a crypt, entombed in a mausoleum,” Fulton said.
Belknap is facing charges of felony criminal mischief, abuse of a corpse, third-degree burglary, theft and desecration of a venerated object.
According to the sheriff’s office, there isn’t an apparent relationship between the suspect and the decedents that are entombed within the mausoleum.
Fulton shared a message to the community: “We don’t want people to fear that this might happen to their loved ones, as well.”