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Community activist under fire for taking photos of deceased in various states of undress

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 7:36 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Some local funeral directors are coming together, condemning the practice of a community activist who routinely takes photographs of the dead.

Pictures are routinely taken during an autopsy when somebody dies under suspicious circumstances.

Now the Group Justice for Michiana follows that up by taking pictures of its own, as a way to confirm or refute the autopsy findings.

Tim Corbett is no longer St. Joseph County’s lead homicide investigator.

He’s now a private eye, who sees eye to eye with the funeral directors who sat side by side with him today.

“Everyone in this room does everything the proper way, and it just turns our stomach to think that this kind of stuff went on amongst one funeral home in South Bend,” says Jon Hanley of Hanley and Sons Funeral Home.

“When someone experiences a death, they have to trust in the funeral home they chose, to treat their loved one with dignity and respect and the folks that he has been talking about with naked photos, there’s injustice there,” says Kerry Palmer with Palmer Funeral Home.

It’s alleged that one South Bend funeral home allowed a community activist to photograph the dead in various states of undress.

While relatives of the deceased apparently signed consent forms, they didn’t always have a clear understanding of what they were doing.

“A family that I talked to yesterday their 25-year-old daughter is on a metal slab,” says Tim Corbett. “How would you react? You’re taking naked pictures of my kid, you can’t justify it you can’t okay it to me, its not a good thing. They are mad.”

Corbett is seeking the public’s help in identifying another pictured woman, said to be African American, between 50 and 60 years old who has an autopsy scar on her chest, and a tattoo on her left arm that has the letter “C” apparently followed by the letter “L.”

“If anybody’s had somebody die, that had to have an autopsy done, that has any kind of tattoo on their left, contact me. Contact me,” Corbett says.

Corbett says he also has proof that some of the pictures were being shown gratuitously to individuals who were not related to the deceased and didn’t belong to the group Justice for Michiana.

The group counters that pictures were once shown to someone because they expressed an interest in joining but did not follow through.

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