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Family Distraught After Thieves Steal Body From Cemetery

Crime scene at St. Charles Cemetery (Photo/Carol D'Auria)

Crime scene at St. Charles Cemetery (Photo/Carol D’Auria)

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EAST FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A distraught family demanded answers Wednesday after thieves vandalized a Long Island cemetery.

Suffolk County Police say a group of thieves broke into a mausoleum, stealing the remains of a woman who died 12 years ago.

Her relatives spoke to CBS 2’s John Slattery about the disturbing discovery. For 72-year-old Louise Filippazzo, it is more than disturbing – it’s a real-life horror.

“It’s terrible, it’s terrible,” Filippazzo said. “My husband is away, is in Italy. He’s crying there in Italy, and I’m here.”

Filippazzo is a daughter-in-law of the late Mattia Filippazzo, who was 87 when she died in 1998. Mattia was buried at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale, but as CBS 2 reported Tuesday, the woman’s remains were stolen by thieves who broke into the family’s mausoleum.

“Why would someone do this? I don’t know,” Filippazzo said. “I can’t believe this.”

For the first time, CBS 2 got an inside look at the Filippazzo burial vault whose theft, police say, involved several thieves. The robbers brought tools and entered three mausoleums, carrying one casket outside.

If that weren’t horrid enough, police say the thieves then pried open the casket and carried the body away.

“Despicable, terrible, I can’t believe it, to do such a horrible, horrible thing,” Filippazzo said.

A spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn called it the worst case of vandalism in memory at the cemetery.

“Horrible. They’re sick, sick people,” Filippazzo said.

Family members who years ago had said goodbye, have now been forced to deal with a desecration has disrupted their lives.

Police are discussing a motive, but they don’t think the three mausoleums were targeted specifically.