Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 26, 2012

Phony cremations send funeral director to prison

HENRYVILLE, Ind. —

CNHI News Service

A funeral director has been sentenced to 16 years in prison, but will likely spend less than a year behind bars, for insurance fraud and other crimes tied to fake cremations.

Richard Pyke, 45, pleaded guilty in a Jeffersonville court to the charges that stemmed from the discovery of five human bodies and 10 animal carcasses at his funeral home in this southern Indiana town.

Authorities said some famililies in the area learned they were given cremated ashes that were not those of their loved ones.

Judge Vicki Carmichael suspended 10 years of the 16-year prison sentence, and Pyke's attorney said after the court hearing he expected Pyke to be released on probation in nine to 10 months.

Before the sentence was read in court Monday by the judge, one of the people Pyke defrauded, LaDonna Campbell, spoke.

“Basically," she said, "Rick’s a good person ... but the devil got in him.”

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Details for this story were provided by the News and Tribune in Jeffersonville, Ind.

 

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