Faking it: forbidden thoughts of an obit girl

October 9, 2006 at 2:41 pm (Uncategorized)



From time to time, my co-workers send me obituary-related stories from across the country. A few days ago, this story was sent my way:

WATERLOO, Iowa – A northeast Iowa man who filed a fake obituary with a newspaper is headed to jail. James Snyder of Stout was accused of submitting the obituary for his girlfriend’s 17-year-old son to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier last December to get out of work. The obituary said the teen died after a lengthy illness. Snyder was charged with tampering with records. On Monday, he entered an Alford plea, and was sentenced to a year in jail — suspended to seven days. Under an Alford plea, he admits no guilt, but agrees prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him. The teen’s mother, Mary Jo Elizabeth, was charged with accessory after the fact. She was sentenced in June to 30 days in jail, which was suspended to a year’s probation. The scam was discovered when people who knew the teen saw him at Waterloo restaurant and called authorities.

Even in its brevity, I found the story raised some very compelling questions. First of all, I wondered whether or not the newspaper in question had a protocol in place for verifying the authenticity of the obituary and if they did, why wasn’t it followed? When I interviewed for the job one of the first things I was told was that we needed third party verification if the obituary was coming directly from a family member. It is never an easy question to ask a grieving family member what funeral home they’re working with, but in my experience families are quite understanding and even grateful that we do verify obituaries. Otherwise, you could have a situation similar to the one described in the story.

I also wondered if Mr. Snyder enjoyed his day off. I don’t know what sort of job he had, but faking the death of his girlfriend’s teenage son just to secure a day off does seem rather extreme.

Whatever he did, I hope he thinks it was worth a criminal record and seven days in jail.



  1. LaFlamme said,

    New photos in the evidence room.

  2. K2 said,

    I think they got the story dead on.

    I mean, what do you expect from a working stiff.

    Although it was a grave error.

    At least the mainstream media didn’t bury the story.

    Visions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn hangin out in the rafters listening to their own wakes. One of the greatest pranks in literature, I argue.

    And LaFlamme, I guess I’ll have to settle for assistant deputy sheriff. No thanks to the White Man and the System. . . .

  3. Linda said,

    Pretty funny story, Mandy! The dumbass really wasn’t thinking ahead though was he?

  4. LaFlamme said,

    The scene where Finn and Sawyer sneak into their own wakes totally influenced my childhood. I’ve been planning to fake my death ever since. It never works out right, though.

  5. LaFlamme said,

    Impromptu poll: is Meg Ryan sexy in the above scene? Or just ridiculous?

  6. Linda said,

  7. AO said,

    Oh, so that night last winter out front of the Sun Urinal was an attempt at a fake death! Sorry I ruined it for you.

    And, I really wouldn’t know about Meg being sexy. But, that was a classic scene.

  8. Linda said,

    That asshat website said “top ten” and then listed 8. Here are the last two

    9. Jane Fonda, who is sentenced to death by orgasm in Barbarella.

    10. Jennifer Aniston experiencing the power of God in Bruce Almighty.

  9. K2 said,

    LaFlamme, you know damn well that you have a thing for Becky Thatcher, and you’re afraid to death of Injun Joe. That’s why you abstain from spelunking. Go ahead, try to deny it. . . .

  10. Gil said,

    Really, women fake orgasms?
    Well, ok. I don’t have to though do I?

    And I never abstain from “spelunking”. As a matter of fact, I just got through “spelunking”. Now excuse me, I have to clean off my keyboard

  11. Linda said,

    Oh, there’s a nice picture, Gil. You caved in to K2’s suggestion, eh?

  12. AO said,

    Mandy! I really want to go into the Barely Manenough song but, I’ll just say…it’s so nice to put a face to the name! LOVE the black dress!

  13. cave-man said,

    spelunking means cave exploring, you know….

  14. Gil said,

    I was exploring a cave when I spelunked all over the place.

  15. K2 said,

    Did anyone notice that there’s V8 in the LaFlamme’s fridge, but no beer? Now that’s just wrong.

    And Flamette, I’ll never look at a cucumber the same again. I can only imagine you with a zucchini.

    AO, I didn’t notice Mady’s black dress. But I did notice the fantastic fissure. Why does cleavage turn men into pigs? Clearly, I’m a victim.

  16. Mandy, the obit writer said,

    It seems oddly appropriate that I post something related to my work, then the talk turns to sex and orgasms.

  17. K2 said,

    Come again? (Pun intended.)

  18. LaFlamme said,

    That photo program is pretty easy. Better if it allowed anyone to post, but I’ll get there sooner or later. In the meantime, send me pics and I’ll post them.

  19. Mandy, the obit writer said,

    What I meant to say is that sex seems to follow me, regardless of what I post. Perhaps this is an aura I unconsciously give off.

  20. LaFlamme said,

    Sex and death, huh?

  21. K2 said,

    Deathly sexy?

    By the way, I heard that while there’s no cure for premature ejaculation, one is coming quickly.

    LaFlamme, I recommend the V8 Splashes. Especially the Guava/Passion fruit. You’ d never know they snuck carrot juice in there.

    Oops, we’re back to passion.

    Or as Marion Barry famoulsy said, ‘The bitch set me up.’

    He won re-election a few years later. Only in DC.

  22. LaFlamme said,

    I really had V8 in my fridge? It wasn’t mine. I was holding it for a friend.

  23. Quinton Uzzo said,

    You gave great points here. I made a research on the subject and found nearly all peoples will agree with your blog. That is fine for some women, and if you want to have what some call a natural birth, that is what you should do.

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