HR Strange But True!
April 13, 2006

Police have arrested an Iowa couple accused of filing a phony obituary for the woman's teenage son in order to get a few days off from work.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier ran the obituary for 17-year-old Daniel "D.J." Reddout after a man who identified himself as Reddout's father submitted the information in December.

The man, James Ralph Snyder, who is the boyfriend of Reddout's mother, Mary Jo Elizabeth Jensen, said Reddout died at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota after a lengthy illness. But people familiar with the teen and his family noticed he was alive and well at a downtown restaurant later that week.

Snyder was arrested Sunday for tampering with records. Jensen was arrested as an accessory after the fact. The misdemeanor charges allege Snyder submitted a false record or writing with the intent to deceive or "conceal a wrong."

Court records state that Snyder and Jensen worked at Tyson Foods in Waterloo and started taking time off from work in December by saying Reddout was sick and in a hospital. The scheme escalated as time went on, and Tyson officials were told the teenager was on life support and then told he had died.

When Snyder and Jensen took several days for funeral leave, Tyson officials told them they needed to verify the reason for their absence. That's when Snyder filed the fake obituary, according to the Courier.

Jensen told the Courier that the bogus obit was a case of bad communication and said Snyder submitted the obituary after she told him her son was ill. She said she joked that Reddout had died, and Snyder then took it upon himself to place the death notice, which included the time and place of a funeral, which was to have taken place a few days earlier, the newspaper reported.

The obituary stated that memorials "may be directed to the family."


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