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Ex-cemetery manager charged with scamming widower out of $2,500

A former Connecticut cemetery manager accused of desecrating gravesites faces fresh charges that she pocketed $2,500 from a grieving widower who thought he was buying a burial plot next to his wife.

Luis Castillo forked over $1,150 to Dale LaPrade in 2014 for plots for himself and his newly deceased wife at Park Cemetery in Bridgeport, the Connecticut Post reported.

But when he went to visit his late wife’s grave at the 1878 cemetery, he found that a stranger had been buried next to her instead.

LaPrade, who worked as the manager of the 57-acre grounds for 12 years and was also its director before she was ousted, admitted to making a mistake.

She told Castillo she’d have his wife buried in a new plot with a second grave made available for him — for an extra $1,350.

Castillo paid but LaPrade never made good on her promise, police said.

She surrendered to authorities Thursday on second-degree larceny charges.

The wheelchair-bound LaPrade, 65, could face additional charges, according to Superior Court Judge Tracy Lee Dayton, who called the case “extremely serious.”

Park Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Park Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut.AP

“This goes well beyond what she is charged with here, she swindled people when they were at their most vulnerable,” prosecutor David Applegate said in court.

LaPrade is being held in lieu of $10,000 bond.

Her public defender, Thomas Paoletta, declined to comment.

The cold-hearted cryptkeeper was initially arrested last year and accused of discarding human bones and caskets from old gravesites to make room for the newly dead.

Police said they found new graves stacked on old ones, separated by a layer of dirt.

She was charged with felony interference with a cemetery.

“There was fresh soil over old headstones and they were in the process of building an access road through the stones,” Detective Jorge Cintron testified in a civil case against LaPrade, the Connecticut Post reported. “In the woods, we found old headstones and human bones that had just been thrown around.”



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