MERCED — Merced police have arrested the second suspect in the theft of nine urns containing human remains, taken in May from Evergreen Funeral Home and Memorial Park.
Marc Reid, 55, was taken into custody Wednesday evening. Lt. Tom Trindad said Reid was located after officer Samuel San- nadan received a call about the suspect being on Motel Drive.
Officers responded to the scene and spotted Reid walking in the area. He was arrested without incident.
Under questioning from police, Reid didn't admit to participating in the theft.
The other suspect in the case, Richard Madsen, 68, was arrested by Merced police about two weeks ago. Police believe the theft happened sometime between 6 p.m. May 7 and 8 a.m. May 8.
The urns, which generally are made of brass or bronze and contained human ashes, were kept in glass cases in the outdoor mausoleum. Police believe the suspects took out the glass and removed the urns from the cases.
The thieves also reportedly took the bronze stripping and brackets on the cases.
All of the families whose loved ones' remains were stolen from the cemetery were notified about the thefts, according to Evergreen officials.
After the thefts, Detective Paul Johnson followed up on leads in the case, identifying Madsen and Reid as suspects.
Madsen admitted to the thefts under questioning, saying he and Reid emptied the human ashes into a garbage can, cut up the urns and took the metal to a recycling business for money, according to Trindad.
The suspects remain at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property. They could face additional charges of removing human remains from a burial place.
While thieves have stolen metal vases, sprinkler heads and other items from Evergreen before, cemetery officials said that it's the first time in recent memory that anyone has taken human remains.
City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.