Detective Jamie Blume of the Beckley City Police Department said the hearse driver parked the 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood outside of the funeral home, which was not identified, at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday and left the door ajar while attempting to gain access to the funeral home, the Beckley Register-Herald reported Wednesday.
Blume said the suspect, Angela Jeanette Dehart, 23, of Beaver, then climbed into the vehicle, drove it to Beaver, and abandoned it on Blue Jay Drive to walk the rest of the way to her residence.
Police returned the hearse and its contents to the funeral home within 4 hours of the theft, Blume said.
Investigators determined the corpse had been damaged, likely due to reckless driving following the theft.
Blume said Dehart admitted to the incident when questioned by police. She said she took the vehicle to drive home because she was unfamiliar with the area.
Dehart is facing charges of grand larceny and displacement of a dead body.