2 Texas Teens Charged After They Posted Snapchat of Themselves Stealing Necklace from Dead Body
Two teenagers in Texas have been arrested after they posted a video to Snapchat of themselves stealing a necklace from a dead body they discovered.
Bethany Martin, 17, and a 16-year-old female friend happened upon a man's corpse in a drainage ditch last Monday, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office tells PEOPLE.
The girls told authorities they were walking in a recently developed neighborhood when they spotted "something awkward by the drainage ditch and went to take a closer look," according to authorities. When they found the body, they called a male friend, who joined them at the scene before they called the police.
The deceased was later identified as 25-year-old Marcus Adams, and his death has since been ruled a suicide. His family has set up a GoFundMe to assist them with funeral costs.
But police say that the day after his body was found, the sheriff's office was made aware of a video circulating online showing "a 17 year old female removing jewelry from the decedent's neck," officials tell PEOPLE.
"If it weren't on video? I wouldn't believe that it happened," Sheriff Javier Salazar told KENS-5.
Martin was arrested last Tuesday and charged as an adult with felony theft from a human corpse or grave. She's since been released on $2,000 bail, according to police. The 16-year-old faces the same charges, though she is considered a juvenile and has not been named.
An attorney for Martin was not immediately able to be found.
"It was disturbing because they're laughing. 'I can't believe you're doing this,' or words to that effect, treating it as a joke," Salazar reportedly told KENS 5.
According to a police affidavit obtained by KENS-5, the juvenile used Martin's phone to film the ordeal and post it to Snapchat. The girls told investigators they took the jewelry because the 16-year-old liked it, and it "matched her fashion style." Martin reported told investigators she removed the necklace carefully, making sure not to touch the body.
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The video subsequently made its way to the Nextdoor app, where neighbors in the vicinity continued sharing the clip before law enforcement was alerted. A family member of the deceased also saw the video, Sheriff Salazar noted to KENS 5.
"It's bad enough to steal from the living. But to steal from the dead? He's helpless. He's no longer here. He couldn't fight back," the father of deceased, Marcus Adams Sr. told KENS 5, as the family said they want the girls held responsible to the full extent of the law.
The girls admitted to tossing the chain in a nearby grassy area, but the 16-year-old kept the pendant and put it on a gold necklace she had. Although they did not disclose about the theft when they first called police, the juvenile did surrender the jewelry after she was confronted with the video evidence, and it has since been returned to the family of the deceased, according to the affidavit.
"When my homicide sergeant pulled me aside and said 'I'm going to show you video that's going to be very, very disturbing,'" Salazar recounted to KSAT-12. "And he showed me the video and it was, I'm, I'm shook! I am still shook. I'm disturbed by it."