Sheriff: Burglars find woman dead, steal her identity

TACOMA, WA -- Two men accused of finding a Washington woman's body when they burglarized her home, then hiding the body and assuming her identity, have been arrested, a Pierce County sheriff's spokesman says.

"It's a bizarre story with a lot of moving pieces," spokesman Ed Troyer said Friday.

The two men were arrested for investigation of multiple counts of theft and identity theft, KOMO-TV of Seattle reported. They're expected in court on Monday.

Investigators think the 63-year-old Graham woman died recently of natural causes while unloading horse feed from her truck, The News Tribune reported. Her horse was found dead on the property Wednesday, apparently of starvation and exposure.

The two men are accused of going to the home to burglarize it sometime after the woman died, finding her body and removing it.

"Instead of running away or making an anonymous phone call, they took the body away and wrapped it up and hid it on their property under a bale of hay," Troyer told the newspaper.

The woman's co-workers reported her missing June 20, Troyer said. A couple days later, one man is accused of using the woman's identity and credit cards.

Her credit union alerted officials to the activity in the account of a woman who had been reported missing. Troyer said that information led sheriff's officers to the two men.

Officers searched the men's home with cadaver dogs and found the woman's body.

Detectives think the burglary happened before the missing person report was filed, Troyer said. Based on the two men's statements, they think the house was a random target and the men were not involved in the death.

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