A grieving family is seeking closure after someone stole their daughter's body out of her casket at a Texas funeral home before she could be cremated following her funeral service in broad daylight., baffling police and forcing her family to deal with losing her a second time.
Julie Mott, 25, died Aug. 8 after a life-long battle with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe.
Her body was stolen after her funeral in San Antonio on Aug. 15 which would have been her 26th birthday, Sgt. Javier Salazar said.
Mott's body was discovered missing the next morning, when staff went to take her for cremation and found the casket had been broken into, Salazar said.
But there were no signs of forced entry on the Mission Parks Funeral Chapel North home, and no alarms had gone off or been tampered with overnight. That means her body was likely stolen from a private viewing area between the end of the service at 1:30 p.m. and the end of the business day at 4:30 p.m. after the funeral.
"Whoever did it was pretty daring about it," Salazar said, noting the crime could have been committed by just one person or a group because Mott was petite.
As to motive, "the possibilities are endless" and police will wait until they have apprehended a suspect to say why the crime occurred, he said.
“Our No. 1 priority, of course, is getting her back to her family,” Salazar said. “A close second is to find out who the person was who did it and bring them to justice.”
Dad Tim Mott begged for help finding his daughter's body.
"We just want our daughter's remains returned so we can have some closure to our grief," he said.
The situation is especially heartwrenching because Mott was expected to live to just 3 years old, Salazar said. But her family "encouraged her to live" and have fun.
She became a "vibrant, typical young girl" who loved to horseback ride but spent many days bedridden, Salazar said.
"It's heartbreaking to see a family that went through all that with her…now being put through this before being able to go through mourning and get the closure any family needs," he said.
Friends mourned the second loss of the San Antonio College graduate who brought joy into their lives, despite her pain.
"So disturbing and unbelievable that someone would do this. RIP Julie and prayers to your family in this horrible time," friend Jessica Payne wrote.
The body theft is the first one in the funeral home's 108-year history as the crime is not common
The funeral home is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the body's discovery.
NY Daily News.