Former Forensic Investigator Charged With Abusing A Corpse

The Delaware Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights & Public Trust announced Monday that a grand jury has indicted a Pennsylvania man on two counts of the crime of Abusing a Corpse. In two separate incidents, James T. Schaeffer-Patton, 39, of Pennsylvania is accused of having improperly moved decedents’ bodies during his employment as a Forensic Investigator for the State’s Division of Forensic Sciences, according to authorities.

Patton is alleged, in January 2018, to have used a ligature around a decedent’s neck to move the body. In July 2019, Patton allegedly carried a victim in a body bag down a flight of stairs from the scene of death and allowed the victim’s head to repeatedly strike the steps. In both cases, Patton declined to use a stretcher supplied to him to move decedents’ bodies, officials said.

The families of both decedents have been notified of the indictment. Abusing a Corpse is a Class A Misdemeanor. Each count is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 1 year and a maximum fine of $2,300.

Court records indicate that County Police Officers reported the incidents and State Police Investigated the case.

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