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The San Diego Body in the Freezer Case - Is it a Crime to Hide a Body?



Nancy Grace recently did a podcast titled "CHRISTMAS MURDER-BY-FREEZER? Visiting Relatives Find WOMAN IN CHEST FREEZER".  Nancy as usual was the first to run with this story and it is now exploding nationwide.  A family visit for Christmas turned wild when the house guests found a body in a chest size freezer in the house.   How long was it there?  Who was the person?

Since Nancy Grace 1st covered the story we have learned that  the person "Mary Margaret Haxby-Jones. She would have been 81 years old at the time her remains were found. It’s believed that she lived at the home at some point.  She may have been missing or dead for up to nine years." Read More at CRIME ONLINE.

The law on keeping and moving a corpse in California has now become a hot topic.  Here are the rules.

Rules for Keeping a Body at Home

In the Refrigerator

In California, embalming is not required for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours a body must be embalmed or refrigerated. If a body is to be shipped by car or airpline, it must be embalmed.
(Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 7355.)

Concealing an Accidental Death

California Code, Penal Code § 152

It is a misdemeanor to actively conceal an accidental death. To actively conceal an accidental death means any of the following:

(1) To perform an overt act that conceals the body or directly impedes the ability of authorities or family members to discover the body.

(2) To directly destroy or suppress evidence of the actual physical body of the deceased, including, but not limited to, bodily fluids or tissues.

(3) To destroy or suppress the actual physical instrumentality of death.

Accessory After the Fact

If someone commits murder and someone helps conceal the murder by hiding the body, that is a violation of Penal Code section 32, Accessory after the fact. Hiding a body in the freezer would qualify.

Abuse of a Corpse

In California, the Health and Safety Code § 7052 defines the crime of willfully mutilating, disinterring, removing from the place of interment, or committing an act of sexual penetration on, or having sexual contact with, remains known to be human, without authority of law.

This covers a wide range of acts and it may not apply to finding a body and then hiding it.

Now how do end this blog?  "If you are charged with hiding a body by placing it in a freezer call .... ."   

My guess as to how this case ends is that we find someone collecting her social security check during the eight years she was gone.  By hiding her death they got the money, stayed in her house etc.