Stephanie Thomas, 28, had, until recently, been employed at the Berks Heim Home in Reading, Pa., where she'd worked as a nursing assistant. However, she was suspended from her job, and was allegedly unclear as to why, until a police officer showed up at her home.
It seems that Thomas was suspended from her job -- and brought to the attention of police -- after her superiors at the nursing home received an anonymous letter claiming that someone, allegedly Thomas, had been taking photos of dead patients and sharing them with friends and co-workers. The letter also contained screenshots showing the phone number the shared images came from -- supposedly Thomas'.
When speaking to police, Thomas gave the officer her cell phone and her PIN code, and the officer searched through her phone and allegedly found more evidence. Further, the phone was turned over to the county forensics unit, who went through the phone and reportedly found photos of dead bodies of at least three former residents of the nursing home, including one of a resident face down with a bloody discharge coming from her face.
Additionally, authorities allegedly found photos of dead animals and body parts of dead animals, including deer skulls, decapitated deer heads, an internet photo of a dog skull, and a small, embalmed shark, on Thomas' phone.
Thomas supposedly told the police officer who interviewed her that she took the photos and shared them with her boyfriend because he "liked that kind of thing."
However, neighbors and witnesses say that Thomas herself has an "obsession with death" and that she "collects dead things."
Families of the deceased individuals whose dead bodies Thomas reportedly photographed have been contacted. They say they did not give consent to the photos and were outraged at such a breach of trust in a care facility.
"These families, they were particularly outraged that their photographs of deceased family members [were] exposed to public view. Frankly, I think it caused a lot of embarrassment and emotional issues for the families," said Berks County District Attorney John Adams, via Allentown's WFMZ-TV.
As for Thomas, she's been charged with three misdemeanor charges of abuse of a corpse and has been issued a summons to appear in court for her arraignment on December 3.