Lake County coroner, wife arrested on charges of tampering with a dead body

Posted at 5:00 PM, Feb 19, 2021

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. — The Lake County coroner and his wife have been arrested on charges of tampering a deceased body, officials announced on Friday.

Coroner Shannon Lee Kent and Staci Kent were arrested shortly after 8:30 p.m. Friday in Leadville, according to the Silverthorne Police Department.

Investigators had found a dead body in a coffin at the Bailey-Kent Funeral Homes in Silverthorne and suspected that the body had been there for "a number of months."

The Park County coroner's office on Friday identified the victim as Victor Akubuo, 42, of California. Akubuo had died in a semi-truck crash in Park County in July, and his body was taken to the Kents' funeral home in August.

The Kents had owned the funeral home but it's now under new ownership, officials said.

Shannon Kent also faces a charge of violating bond conditions. According to the Office of the Fifth Judicial District Attorney, the charge stems from a previous Dec. 6 2019 arrest in Lake County, where he was charged with official misconduct and perjury.

A Grand Jury indicted him in Sept. 2019 for having his wife act as a Deputy Coroner for four months from March 2019 to July 15, 2019 without being legally sworn or having an appointment filed with the County Clerk. The DA's Office said Shannon Lee Kent testified at the Grand Jury that his wife had acted as Deputy Coroner for approximately two years prior to July 16, 2019, the date he filed the invalid appointment with the County Clerk's office.

The Kents were jailed with their bond set at $10,000.

Silverthorne Police Chief John Minor called the arrests "a sad case involving our community and a difficult investigation for our officers."