Man attempts to steal grandmother's jewels from her gravesite, police say

Police in Martin County, Kentucky, have arrested James Howard and Tea Jay Luster after authorities said the couple sneaked into a graveyard on Sunday night to exhume the body of James' grandmother.

>> Read more trending news

Howard’s grandmother, Emily Howard, was buried for 15 years before her family discovered her grave disturbed on Sunday.

According to WSAZ, a witness saw the gravesite on Sunday morning and discovered that Emily's grave was disturbed. In the original report, the family noted that she was not buried with anything valuable, saying she only had "a porcelain doll and six pictures." The grave robbers were unable to get into the coffin.

To their horror, the family discovered that the main suspect was one of Emily’s descendants. Police were tipped off, and when investigators confronted Luster and Howard on Tuesday morning, they admitted to the crime, police said. The pair said that they were looking for jewelry that they might be able to sell, according to police.

Another relative told WSAZ that Howard has been struggling with drugs, saying, "We're just praying through this that he'll get help."

Both men have been charged with violating a grave.

An update by WSAZ on Thursday reported that Luster’s wife, 35-year-old Jennifer Luster, was also arrested in connection with the incident. She was charged with violating a grave.

About the Author