A Beer From Her Beloved's Grave

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A woman has been arrested for digging up her dead boyfriend's ashes from a cemetery more than 10 years ago and drinking the beer that was buried with him, possibly out of spite for his family, authorities say.

Karen Stolzmann, 44, was charged Tuesday with concealing stolen property, in a case Columbia County Detective Wayne Smith calls "twisted and bizarre."

Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe De Cecco said Thursday he would determine if additional charges should be filed in his county since the urn was found at Stolzmann's Sheboygan home.

Michael Hendrickson, 27, died in 1992 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His family contacted authorities three weeks ago when they discovered his remains had been stolen.

An exhumation revealed Hendrickson's cremated remains — along with beer and cigarettes that were buried with him — were missing from Cambria Cemetery in Cambria.

Detectives searched Stolzmann's home and found her hiding in the shower. The remains, located in her garage, had "identifiable things to make us believe they're (Hendrickson's)," Smith said.

Detective Jay Yerges said Stolzmann and Hendrickson were living together in the early 1990s, while they were both married to other people. The relationship was stormy, with a pattern of alcohol and domestic abuse, he said.

Stolzmann was present when Hendrickson shot himself in January 1992. Yerges said Hendrickson's family blamed her for his death and she was not invited to his services.

"I feel that her motive was spite," Yerges said.

Robbing graves is a felony offense, but the six-year statute of limitations has passed for prosecution. There may be a way to prosecute because the alleged theft was only recently discovered, Yerges said.
  • Lloyd Vries

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