Family caught smuggling dead relative into Ukraine by strapping her into car seat and pretending she was alive

Images show woman slumped in back with pillow covering her face

Tom Embury-Dennis
Wednesday 24 October 2018 19:02
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Checkpoint in Kharkiv where officials uncovered the attempted smuggling of a corpse
Checkpoint in Kharkiv where officials uncovered the attempted smuggling of a corpse

A family have reportedly been caught trying to smuggle a dead relative into Ukraine by strapping her into a car seat and pretending she was alive.

Ukrainian border guards detained the vehicle, which had a Russian number plate, in the Kharkiv region earlier this week, the country’s state border service said.

A Russian man was driving the Ford car, while his son, a Ukrainian citizen, was sitting next to him, said Oleg Slobodian, a spokesperson for the border service.

Images posted on Facebook showed the driver’s dead wife slumped in the back seat, strapped in by a seat belt, with a pillow across her face.

“In the back seat, the law enforcement officers found the corpse of a woman who was planted and fastened with a seat belt as a living person,” Mr Slobodian said in a statement, according to Ukrainian TV.

After officials realised the woman was dead, her husband provided them with his wife’s Russian death certificate, dated 22 October.

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He reportedly explained they were trying to get the corpse into Ukraine in order to bury it in the Zaporozhye region, around 190 miles from Kharkiv.

It is unclear, however, why they attempted to smuggle the body. Ukrainian law requires corpses be transported in sealed zinc coffins when crossing state borders.

Mr Slobodian said Russian border guards at an adjacent checkpoint waved the car through, failing to notice one of the car’s passengers was dead.

A police investigation has been launched, local media reported.

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