Women ‘propped up’ dead man in car making him ‘visible to bank staff’ to take his money: Police

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Karen Casbohm and Loreen Bea Feralo (Ashtabula Police Department)

Karen Casbohm, left, and Loreen Bea Feralo, right (Ashtabula Police Department)

Two women in Ohio have been arrested after they allegedly “propped up” the body of a dead man in their car and drove to his bank’s drive-thru ATM — where they made sure he was seen by tellers — and withdrew money from his account.

While the bizarre allegations may seem to come straight out of a macabre sequel to the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s,” Karen Casbohm, 63, and Loreen Bea Feralo, 55, are both facing multiple felonies for the alleged attempt to steal the dead man’s money. The duo was taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with one count each of gross abuse of a corpse and theft from a person in a protected class, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

The investigation into the women began when officers with the Ashtabula, Ohio Police Department on Monday, March 4, responded to a call from the Ashtabula County Medical Center (ACMC) where staffers said that two unidentified women had just “dropped off” the body of a deceased elderly man, the department said in a news release.

The two women — later identified as Casbohm and Feralo — were said to have left almost immediately after leaving the body at the facility “without providing any information about the man or themselves.” However, a few hours later, one of the women called the hospital and told a staffer some personal information about the deceased man. Authorities were then able to identify the man as 80-year-old Douglas Layman of Ashtabula.

Officers were then dispatched to Layman’s home where they made contact with Casbohm and Feralo and interviewed them inside of the home.

Police said the two women — who lived in Layman’s home but were not related to him — found Layman dead earlier in the day on Monday. With the help of a third person who was not identified by authorities, the women allegedly placed Layman’s dead body in the front seat of his car “and then drove to the bank where they withdrew an undisclosed amount of money from his account.”

“It is further alleged that Mr. Layman was placed in the vehicle in such a manner that he would be visible to bank staff in order to make the withdrawal,” police wrote in the release. “The women then proceeded to ACMC shortly thereafter where his body was left with staff at the facility.”

Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell reportedly told the Star Beacon that the women “propped up” Layman in the passenger seat of his car to ensure the bank tellers saw that he was with them. “The bank had allowed this previously as long as they were accompanied by him,” Stell told the newspaper.

He told Cleveland Fox affiliate WJW that it was the first time in his 28 years of law enforcement that he had seen anything like this case.

“I have never heard of anything other than fiction that’s like this,” Ashtabula County Prosecuting Attorney Cecilia Cooper told WJW.

Casbohm appeared in court for her arraignment this week where a judge set her bond at $5,000. Feralo is currently scheduled to appear for her arraignment on March 14. They face up to two years in prison if convicted on both charges.

Authorities are urging anyone with information relevant to the investigation to contact police at 440-992-7126.

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