Evidence starts to tell the story in the strange case of abuse of a corpse

Belmont County

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – The man whose already-dead body was ejected from a car in a crash on I-470 may not have gotten into that car under his own power.

St. Clairsville Police indicate that one of his shoes has been found in the driver’s St. Clairsville apartment, while the other was among the debris scattered on the ground at the crash site.

Police Chief Matt Arbenz declined to comment on whether David Allen Saunders was already dead and was placed in the vehicle before the accident.

He said the driver, 31-year-old John Polen, has been interviewed by authorities and “claims he’s having memory issues” about what happened.


Polen remains in the West Virginia Northern Regional Jail, charged with abuse of a corpse.

Chief Arbenz said the autopsy on Saunders’ body is scheduled for Friday, and it will probably be quite a while after that before police expect to receive a report.

He said drug use is strongly suspected.

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