Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we go through in life. When our loved ones pass, we often entrust that whatever company we choose to prepare them for the great beyond will treat them with as much dignity and respect as possible. It’s a difficult job that many people are not cut out for, but at our time of grief, we expect that the people performing these necessary tasks are nothing less than professional. When someone breaks that barrier of blind faith we have in these services, it not only tarnishes their own reputation but leaves a black mark on an entire industry who we, perhaps naively, have nothing but the utmost trust in.
When grieving families turned to funeral director Angeliegha Stewart, 27, of East Stroudsburg, PA to take care of their loved ones’ final arrangements they trusted that she was upholding the dignity of the profession. Little did they know that behind closed doors Stewart was taking photos of the deceased throughout various procedures in order to “gross out her friends.”
Police were contacted by two individuals about Stewart’s photos on August 28, 2017. According to court records cited by Lehigh Valley Live, “[Stewart] had taken photographs of a deceased person that were disturbing, and had been showing them to people to ‘gross them out’ and making jokes about them.”
In addition to the disturbing photos, sources also informed police that Stewart had been selling marijuana. Police served a warrant to Stewart while on the job at Lanterman & Allen Funeral Home and discovered dozens of photos on Stewart’s cellphone of corpses as well as photos of the marijuana she had allegedly been selling to friends.
Stewart was questioned by police and admitted that she had taken the photos and had been selling several ounces of pot a week. According to investigators, Stewart claimed that the photos had been taken at the funeral home and she only intended to show them to a colleague “as a joke.” Stewart also admitted that she had shown one of the photos to her ex-boyfriend because she wanted to “gross him out.”
CBS reports that among the photos found on Stewart’s phone included decomposed corpses and one corpse that had been undergoing an organ harvesting procedure. Police are now attempting to identify the cadavers and inform families of what had occurred with their loved ones’ remains.
Stewart has been charged with abuse of a corpse, as well as possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and criminal use of a communication facility.