SALT LAKE CITY — A Panguitch man accused of disposing of his elderly mother's body in a coal bin had promised the woman a "green burial" in the hills near her home, according to charges made available Friday.
Pete Marker, 66, is charged in 6th District Court with desecration of a human body, a third-degree felony, and failure to report finding a human body, a class B misdemeanor. He was arrested this week after his 90-year-old mother's body was found buried in an unused coal bin in her home.
Law enforcement first contacted Marker after his niece received a letter from him explaining that her grandmother, Roma Bowman, had died of natural causes on Christmas Day, and that because he had promised her a "green funeral," he had buried her in the hills west of Panguitch.
But when sheriff's deputies picked up Marker to interview him at the Garfield County Jail, Marker reported that after finding his mother deceased in his bed, he had gone to the mountains to scout locations for a burial but became concerned about the number of people hunting elk in the area.
"Marker stated that he was aware that burying someone in the hills was against the law, and he thought about notifying the sheriff's office but did not do so," charges state.2 comments on this story
Instead, Marker said he wrapped his mother's body in a jacket and bedding, then used a large sign to drag her down to the basement of the home, according to the charges. Marker told investigators he placed the body in an unused coal storage room, then boarded the room back up.
Investigators went to the home, pried off the boards and began digging in the coal there, finding Bowman's body wrapped as Marker had described it, according to the charges.
"The body was totally buried in coal," the charges say.
Marker remained in Garfield County Jail on Friday, with bail increased to $200,000 cash. An initial hearing has not yet been scheduled in the case.
State court records show Marker has no criminal history in Utah.