ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Authorities say Deon Howard, 23, has been arrested in Green Bay, Wisconsin, after being charged with stealing a van from a Rockford funeral home with a body inside.
Howard was arrested after a traffic stop on Sunday morning after being on the run since late January.
According to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Howard was uncooperative with police and refused to identify himself. He was identified once he was brought to jail.
Police said he had several warrants, including one in Rockford and one in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Authorities also said Howard was in possession of a handgun reported stolen in Outagamie County.
According to Rockford Police, Howard stole the van from outside the Collins & Stone Funeral Home, 128 S. 5th Street, on Saturday, January 21st.
The van still contained the body of Curtis Brown, 47, in the cargo area.
Howard fled with the van towards Chicago, police said. The van was located Sunday in the 1400 block of E. 87th Street, but the body was missing.
Brown’s body was found Monday, January 23rd in the 8200 block of S. Manistee Street in Chicago, about 2 miles away. Brown’s remains were transported back to the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office.
Howard was identified as the suspect and charged with Unlawful Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and Abuse of a Corpse.
Cindy Howard, Brown’s mother, said she is upset that she did not know that his body had been stolen until days later.
Howard still lives in Mississippi, Brown’s home state. She found out when she read the news online that there was a missing body from the funeral home where she left her son.
Brown was the father of 12 and had family all over the country, including in Rockford, where he lived. He died from a heart attack that he experienced while at work.