Loretta Burroughs, 63, from Mays Landing, New Jersey who has been described as a “loving grandmother,” has been found guilty in the murder of her husband, Daniel.
In 2007, Burroughs told people that her husband had run off to Florida with a younger woman, but in 2013, the case was re-opened after an unidentified family member brought new evidence against Loretta to police.
When cops arrived to search the house she had shared with Daniel for paperwork they believed may connect Burroughs with the disappearance of her husband, she asked the officers if they were planning on also searching her new house in the nearby town of Ventor. When officers confirmed that they would be searching that house, as well, Sergeant Lynn Dougherty of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s office said that Burroughs’ entire demeanor changed completely.
“Her whole body sunk. She lost the color in her face, she was wringing her hands, very nervous,” he said.
She had reason to be nervous. At her new home, Detective Caroline MacDonald found two large boxes in the closet of the guest bedroom. During the trial, investigators revealed that both of the containers were each wrapped in nine trash bags, with air fresheners, dryer sheets and scented beads used to mask the smell.
Despite Burroughs’ attempts, however, Detective MacDonald recognized that smell of a decomposing body and quickly called Dr. Charles F. Seibert, Jr., a forensic pathologist. It was Dr. Seibert who discovered the handbag, also in the closet, which held a cranium and a mandible — the skull and the jawbone — where they had been placed sometime ago.
“I described [the handbag] as olive but I didn’t know the color, because it had been sitting in decomposition fluid.”
It is reported that Loretta Burroughs moved the stored, decomposing remains of her husband with her through at least two moves.
The two boxes were transported to the mortuary, where they were found to contain the remains of Daniel Burroughs. Pathology found cut marks on the ribs consistent with stab wounds, and toxicology reports showed drugs in Daniel’s system, including amphetamines, which Burroughs’ defense attorney tried to use to get his client off, suggesting that Daniel had been smoking crystal meth and that, since no organs were found, the prosecution couldn’t even prove that Daniel had actually been murdered.
“We don’t know who did it. We don’t know why they did it. We don’t know when they did it,” the defense attorney said. “We don’t even know, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was a murder in the first place.”
Prosecution quickly shot that theory down, showing that Daniel had been recovering from shoulder surgery shortly before his murder, and that it was his wife who drugged him. Furthermore, the drugs in Daniel’s system were secondary to his murder.
“You don’t overdose on crystal meth and then cut yourself up.”
It took the jury just two hours to find Loretta Burroughs guilty of her husband’s murder, and she now faces life in prison, although she will not be formally sentenced until April 22.
After the trial, the prosecuting attorney said, “She thought she got away with it.”
But apparently, although it took eight years, justice finally caught up with Loretta Burroughs.
Murder itself is hard enough for most people to comprehend, and keeping the body of the murder victim is not as uncommon as one would think. Click here to read about the woman who kept the bodies of dead infants in what was soon dubbed “the House of Horror.”
[Image via NJ.com]