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‘Obsession with death.’ Nursing home worker photographed dead patients, PA cops say

A certified nursing assistant from Pennsylvania is facing three misdemeanor charges of abuse of a corpse after she was found taking and harboring pictures of dead patients at the Berks Heim Nursing & Rehabilitation facility, police said, according to multiple media outlets.

Stephanie R. Thomas was arrested Wednesday, according to WFMZ-TV, after she was accused of taking photos of “deceased residents and then sharing them with friends and co-workers.”

Officials discovered Thomas’ behavior after the director of nursing received an anonymous letter detailing her actions, PennLive reported. The director contacted police on Sept. 25 with screenshots of photos Thomas allegedly took of residents, according to an affidavit, PennLive said.

Police went to Thomas’ residence to ask her about the letter and photographs and according to Fox 43, “she reportedly admitted to sending them because her ex-boyfriend ’liked that kind of thing.’”

But police told WFMZ-TV after interviewing multiple people that Thomas reportedly had an “obsession with death.”

“After a forensic analysis of the phone, investigators found photos of facility residents who were alive and photos of three facility residents who were dead,” police told PennLive. “The dead residents were between the ages of 84 and 92 years old.”

Pictures of residents at the facility was not all police found in her phone.

Other photos on her phone included “deer skulls, decapitated deer heads, an internet photo of a dog skull, an embalmed small dead shark and a professional-looking photograph of Thomas posing with a deer skull and antlers,” PennLive reported from the affidavit.

Documents obtained by Fox 43 showed photos of three dead residents Thomas photographed coincided with the dates they died -- April 22, May 22 and July 29, the station said.

Thomas was arrested and charged Wednesday. Her preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 3 at 10 p.m.

Tyler Carter, a Real-Time reporter based out of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is an avid lover of media, fitness, sports and telling impactful stories. Previously, he served as a trending/breaking news/crime reporter for AL.com and The Mississippi Press.
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