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Graveyard ghouls on the loose after 'disturbing' mausoleum raid

Colorado's Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said a suspect broke into a cemetery’s private mausoleum and stole body parts from a casket.

Officials in Colorado said they made a "disturbing and awful" discovery of stolen body parts from a cemetery’s mausoleum. 

"It’s disturbing, and it’s awful, and it’s sad, and it’s a felony charge," a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jacki Kelley, told local media. 

Sheriff’s deputies launched an investigation early Wednesday morning after discovering someone broke into a private mausoleum and stole body parts at the Crown Hill Cemetery, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. 

"The faceplate had been smashed away and was laying on the ground. The crypt behind that had been accessed, and the casket that was inside was partially pulled out," Kelley said of the crime. 

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Authorities said "unknown suspects" gained access to the cemetery the previous night and not only damaged the mausoleum but pulled out the casket, "pried" it open and removed "portions of the body." 

"It’s so disturbing that someone would take the steps … to unearth someone who has been laid to rest and to do anything to harm the body of somebody who’s gone, and how devastating these can be for families," Kelley told KUSA. 

The cemetery is located in Wheat Ridge, about 6 miles outside Denver. 

Authorities have not released which body parts were stolen. 

"At this point, there is no clear motive for this disturbing and awful criminal event," Kelley told Fox News Digital. 

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The sheriff’s office added the suspect, or multiple suspects, face felony charges, including abuse of a corpse, criminal mischief and third-degree burglary and theft. 

The deceased’s name has not been released to the public, but those laid to rest inside the mausoleum all died in the early 20th century.

Police are trying to locate family members of the deceased. 

"This specific scene today is someone who died actually long ago, and so it’s been difficult to find family," Kelly told KUSA.

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Authorities said the suspect only disturbed one of three caskets in the mausoleum. They are calling on the public to come forward with tips. 

The incident comes after a former manager at the Harvard Medical School morgue was indicted this summer for allegedly stealing and selling human body parts. Cedric Lodge is accused of running a scheme from 2018 until earlier this year that involved him allegedly stealing donated body parts, such as heads, brains and bones, and selling them. 

He is accused of allowing some customers to visit the morgue and select which body parts to purchase.

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