A Tennessee woman faces criminal charges after authorities allege she showed up drunk to a funeral, insisted the deceased was still alive, and attempted to remove the man’s body from the casket.
Cynthia Frierson, 36, alleges police are lying about the incident, though she acknowledges she created a disturbance, WKRN reports.
Police reports allege Frierson sideswiped serval cars on Labor Day as she headed to Roundtree-Napier-Ogilvie Funeral Home, where she attempted to remove a body from a casket during a service at the facility.
“Frierson showed up at the funeral home as they were actively having a funeral and walked up to the open casket,” according to the police report cited by the Columbia Daily Herald. The report alleges Frierson “then began grabbing at the body inside of the casket and at one point attempted to get the body out of the casket.”
“Frierson then refused to leave, and approximately six people had to pull her away from the casket and take her outside,” according to the report.
Police allege Frierson reeked of booze and her speech was slurred when they arrived and interviewed her outside of the building.
The arrest report states Frierson gave conflicting reports about whether she drove to the funeral home, though she admitted to being in a red truck described by witnesses to the earlier hit-and-run incidents.
Frierson disputed the police report when contacted by WKRN, alleging she never attempted to remove the body from the casket.
“When I went up, I just went up and touched him, and if they were recording, I just touched him and turned around and I said, He is just asleep,’ and I said, ‘Everything is going to be OK,’” Frierson said.
She acknowledged she was asked to leave but alleged her presence “was not a conflict.”
The family of the deceased seemed to confirm her story.
“She kept saying, ‘He is not dead, he is sleeping,’ so when she did make one effort to touch his hand at that time my brother and I told her that she would have to step away from the casket, which she did, and when she was walking down the aisle we told her we wanted her to leave,” said Keith Mayes Sr., whose father was in the casket.
“But as upset as we were about her presence, I don’t want her to be accused of something she did not do, and in no way did she try to remove his body from the casket,” he said.
Police allege that once they took Frierson to the jail booking area they found a glass pipe in her pocket with black residue inside.
“Due to Frierson being in possession of the glass pipe with black residue inside of it that I know to be used to smoke ‘crack’ cocaine, she was charged with possession of an unlawful drug paraphernalia,” according to the police report cited by the Daily Herald.
Frierson was charged with disrupting a funeral or memorial service, public intoxication, driving on a revoked license, failing to report a vehicle accident, and unlawful drug paraphernalia. She was booked into Maury County Jail and held on a $6,500 bond.
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