David Hall, 49, of Monroe, Michigan, may not have known what he was doing was a crime.
You may not know it was a crime either. This is because for most people it would be too gruesome to think about doing anyway – regardless of the legality. It does bring up an important issue.
Mr. Hall, in fact, lived with his girlfriend’s corpse for a month. According to the Detroit Free Press, he lit candles and had open windows to manage the smell of the decaying body.
However, this was finally discovered by police when the landlord asked them to perform a welfare check. On December 31, 56-year-old Kandace Simmons’ body was discovered in a bedroom of the apartment.
This report is unusual because police didn’t suspect homicide.
Mr. Hall has been charged with another felony: concealing the death of an individual.
Death Has To Be Reported
This is true. It’s a crime not to report a death.
Of course, there are the obvious reasons to be tempted not to report a death including:
- The fear you had something to do with the death
- You did have something to do with the death
- Or you fear you will be suspected of having something to do with the death whether or not you did.
You have to know, it looks suspicious to law enforcement not to report a death simply because most people do so reflexively. Those who don’t – like Mr. Hall – are suspected of something more sinister.
Plus, there are obvious health risks involved with cohabitating with a corpse.
You could be charged with a crime for failing to report a death to police, 911 or a funeral home if you “know or have reason to know” that the death has occurred.
Just for doing that, you could end up serving a jail sentence of up to 1 year and paying a fine of up to $1,000.
Michigan Law on Concealment of Death
According to Michigan law, Section 333.2841
“Except as otherwise provided under this part, an individual who discovers the body of an individual he or she knows or has reason to know is dead and fails to inform a law enforcement agency, a funeral home, or a 9-1-1 operator of the discovery is
- Guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.
This subsection does not apply to an individual who knows or has reason to know that a law enforcement agency, a funeral home, or a 9-1-1 operator has been informed of the discovery of the body.”
The only time it’s not illegal not to report a death is if you have reason to believe it has already been reported. But it’s never illegal to report something twice – so you might want to be safe rather than sorry. Mr. Hall couldn’t give a good reason to police regarding why he failed to report her death, according to this story, so we are left to guess as to what might have been going on.
According to Michigan State Law, Section 333.2841, actually concealing a death is something else:
“A person who violates subsection (2) with the purpose of concealing the fact or cause of death of the individual is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.”
The State of Michigan takes death seriously, even if it’s accidental death. Not reporting a death immediately is a crime. Concealing a death is an even more serious crime.
If you are facing charges related to this, please give our office a call right away. It is our honor to fight for you.