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KatawaGrey's avatar

What kinds of issues to people have with the police exhuming their loved ones bodies?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21433points) March 16th, 2010

I’m in the midst of a Law and Order: SVU marathon and in this particular episode, the police want to exhume a body to get DNA. I watch/have watched a fair number of police and forensic shows and I see this issue often. The family members of the deceased always seem insulted and disgusted that the police are asking to exhume the body.

I’m just curious as to why. I understand that there are respect issues and even the issue that loved ones may have trouble moving on from a death but if the police want to exhume a body to help solve a murder, why would there be so much issue?

In truth, I have no idea what I would want to do in this situation simply because I’ve never been in the situation but I feel as if my mother would want me to let the police exhume her body if it could help solve a murder.

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10 Answers

Sophief's avatar

I don’t really know the answer, but I would imagine it would be, because it is bringing back memories and not leaving the body in peace. They probablt just feel anger because it is their loved one, and just want them left alone.

Good question.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Sometimes, obviously, it’s to prolong a cover-up as to an actual cause of death, or quash suspicion that the loved one could be (pick one)
– a suspect in another crime (no means to defend against the charge, if made),
– a parent of an abandoned infant (never admitted to a foundling in the past),
– not who he / she claimed to be (fraudulent actor)

As well as the obvious religious / peace of mind issues that re-opening a casket could bring to mind.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@CyanoticWasp: Those make much more sense. I just think it’s too bad that people would be so reticent to help the police. My mother wants to be cremated so i doubt I’ll ever have to deal with this personally but it is something to think about.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@KatawaGrey everything I say makes sense, even if it’s not immediately apparent*.

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*(even to me)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

A lot of times burial is a religious thing, with people needing a proper burial in order to go to the proper afterlife, so buy disturbing a grave you are chancing that a person could be yanked from Heaven and sent to Hell.

It also means that the family has to go through the burial process again, which is so emotional and hellish.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Law & Order: SVU is one of the best cop shows, ever.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Bluefreedom: Hell yeah it is. /Virtual fist bump/

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m pretty sure it is mostly a fictional plot device. I doubt it would have that much impact on most families, although I could be wrong.

thriftymaid's avatar

It takes a court order and there’s a very good reason. I have no issues with it.

MacBean's avatar

You should read Stiff by Mary Roach. It’s informative and funny and it gives a lot of interesting perspective on how death and dead bodies affect even a scientifically curious mind.

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