AP: Accused corpse-stealer is ‘religious’

So here’s a weird story, out on the Associated Press wire:

A man accused of stealing his father’s body from a Detroit cemetery with the hope of bringing him back to life has pleaded guilty in exchange for avoiding prison.

His name is Vincent Bright and he pleaded guilty to one charge of disinterring a body. So I guess that’s illegal now.

In any case, the big question here is not the Who and What and Where and When so much as the Why. (I’ll admit I’m also curious about the How.) The story isn’t terribly long but mostly it’s filled with details about the first four questions. The very end of the story tells us:

Bright, then 48, stole the body of 93-year-old Clarence Bright from Gethsemane Cemetery on Jan. 14 and stored it in a home freezer. Police, acting on a tip from other family members, found the corpse in Vincent Bright’s home on Detroit’s east side.

Police said Vincent Bright is religious and took the body in hopes his father would be resurrected.

Prosecutors sought a mental health examination for Bright, and he was found competent to stand trial.

Uh, “religious”? OK. Can we in any way get any more detail on that one? At all? It’s such an odd way of explaining the motivation. And so very inadequate. This story is not new. It first broke early this year. At which time the Associated Press reported:

Police Lt. Harold Rochon told The Detroit News that the son was religious and took the body hoping for it to be miraculously resurrected. Clarence Bright was 93 years old when he died.

That was in January. Way to ask not a single religion angle follow-up question in eight months! I searched the Detroit News for anything on Vincent Bright and came up completely empty-handed, for what it’s worth.

Telling readers that a corpse-stealer is “religious” and hoped for bodily resurrection is in no way a sufficient explanation for this story. All traditional Christians hope for bodily resurrection (see, for example, the ending of the Nicene Creed). And yet corpse-theft is not one of the marks of a Christian. One need not write about corpse stealers but if one does, er, fleshing out the details is in order.

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  • Sarah Webber

    Are there many religions that believe in bodily resurrection? I mean, in he Buffyverse, Wicca is capable, but that is just television.

    • wlinden


      • Sarah Webber


    • Kevin Spencer

      Also Islam and Zoroastrianism.

  • halflight

    Mollie– I searched the Freep (Detroit Free Press website) for “Gethsemane” (the name of the cemetery where the crime occurred) and got this result:


    Reporters contacted the family, but the family refused to make any comment. A neighbor said that Bright made same grandiose statements at the funeral, but nothing specifically religious.

    I wouldn’t fault the reporters for a lack of follow up. They may just not have any source that will talk about Bright’s religious beliefs or delusions.

  • jigawatt

    “Police said Vincent Bright is scientific and took the body in hopes his father would be reanimated.”

    I’m guessing this would not have gone to print.

    • Richard Mounts

      Oddly, in a sidebar on A2 titled IN THE NATION, the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal reported that Vincent Bright took his father’s body “with the hope of bringing him back to life.” A note at the bottom of the sidebar says that the news summaries in the sidebar were compiled from wire reports. I’m guessing the report about Messrs. Bright came from the AP.

      I say oddly because there is no mention of “religious” or “reanimated” and because the dead body is referred to as “him” instead of “it.” It seems to me that a reference to a body should be “it,” while a reference to a person (living or dead) should be him or her. And heck, let’s just admit that the yourger Mr. Bright’s idea, adequately explained or not, is plainly odd indeed.