Calif. Contractor Investigated for Money Missing From Body

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. --

The Kern County Sheriff's Department arrested two men in connection with the theft from a body.

The coroner's office received information that the Delano Police Department was investigating a report of a theft from a body. An employee of Premier Transportation Inc., Christopher Wesley Leake, 34, was identified as a possible suspect.

The coroner's office has a contract with the company to transport bodies that fall under the jurisdiction of the coroner's office. Based on the information, the coroner's office instructed deputy coroners to take extra precautions in the handling of decedents' belongings and in monitoring Leake.

Deputies said the coroner's office received a report of a body in the Boron area. Two deputy coroners responded.

The deputy coroners said they found the body and $65 in a wallet belonging to the person.

The deputy coroners said they noted the serial numbers of the money and left the money in the person’s wallet, which was placed in a pocket. The transport service was called to take the body back to the coroner's facility in Bakersfield, Calif.

Once the transport service left with the body, the deputy coroner noticed that the wallet had been removed from the body, as well as the money taken from the wallet, according to the KCSD.

The transport service crew consisted of Leake and 20-year-old Crescencio Reynosa.

Sheriff's detectives said they met the transport service workers at the coroner's office.

Detectives said Leake and Reynosa were found in possession of the missing money.

Leake was cited on charges of petty theft and a separate warrant, charging him with four counts of theft from a body.

Leake was later released.

Reynosa was arrested on three charges of petty theft.

The management of Premier Transportation Inc. has been very cooperative during the investigation.

There is nothing to indicate that any other employees of the company were involved in the thefts, deputies said.

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