Woman stole mortuary van, body from JPS hospital ambulance bay, Fort Worth police say

A dead person took a circuitous journey after leaving a Fort Worth hospital late Tuesday when a woman stole the van in which the corpse was being transported.

An employee of a mortuary service arrived in a transport van at John Peter Smith Hospital to retrieve a body. The driver parked the van, in which there already was a body, in the ambulance bay and went into the hospital.

About 7 p.m., while the driver was inside, Valerie Traglor-Ellis got into the van and drove off, Fort Worth police said.

Traglor-Ellis drove the van and body to the Fort Worth Zoo, in the 2600 block of Park Place Avenue, where she left the vehicle, police said.

Officers found Traglor-Ellis a short time later and took her into custody on suspicion of auto theft and abuse of corpse.

The van and body were released to the mortuary service driver.