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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Smyrna woman charged with abusing a corpse

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  • The Delaware State Police Homicide Unit has arrested a Smyrna woman after she failed to report the death of her boyfriend and then hid him in a box.
    Homicide Detectives were contacted in the afternoon of January 16 via an anonymous tip informing them there was a dead body located at a residence on Spruce Court in Holly Hill Estates. Detectives from the Homicide Unit as well as detectives from Troop 3 Criminal Investigations Unit responded to the house, where they made contact with Ariane J. Clark, 56, who resides there with her 60-year-old boyfriend. Detectives were soon informed by Clark that the 60-year-old was deceased and located in a box in a rear bedroom.
    Police said Ariane Clark was transported back to Troop 3 that afternoon and information was obtained through interviews that the male subject had died in the afternoon on Jan. 6 shortly after she had returned from completing some errands. Clark began getting the victim's paperwork in order before she called the authorities and noticed his passport had expired, police said. Clark, who is originally from Germany, became panicked because she was under the impression the victim, who is also from Germany, was illegally in the United States and she would be in trouble for supporting an illegal alien. Police said Clark then placed the victim in a large garbage bag before positioning him inside the wooden footlocker and sealing it with duct tape. Clark was released later that evening as detectives continued their investigation into this incident.
    A wooden footlocker sealed with duct tape was located in the rear bedroom covered by a blanket, police said. Upon locating the footlocker, detectives obtained a search warrant on the residence before the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner removed the box and its contents. The footlocker was transported to their office in Georgetown where it was examined and determined that the contents were that of a male subject. Police said an autopsy of the remains was conducted on Jan. 17 and the cause of death has been ruled undetermined at this time. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and positive identification.
    Ariane Clark was arrested on Jan. 23 after warrants were obtained for Abusing a Corpse, a misdemeanor. She was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court No. 2 and released on $5,000 pending a court hearing in the Court of Common Pleas.
    The Homicide Unit is continuing their investigation into this incident.

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