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Fraudulent Former Cemetery Owner Who Reportedly Died 'Miraculously' Found Alive

  • Calvert County
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Police persistence and assistance from the long-running television show with a unique ability to help locate fugitives led to the capture of a Calvert County man who had been convicted of theft involving a cemetery he owned and subsequently faked his death before a probation violation hearing nine months ago. 

Larry Deffenbaugh, 58, the former owner of Southern Memorial Gardens in Dunkirk, Md., was arrested by members of the United States Marshal’s Service on February 16, 2010, in Baytown, Texas.  He is currently being held in the Harris County (TX) Jail awaiting extradition to Maryland. 

Deffenbaugh had been missing since May 10, 2009, when he reportedly fell overboard while on a boat with his brother in the Chesapeake Bay near Virginia Beach, Va.  His disappearance occurred two days before a scheduled probation violation hearing in Calvert County where a possible 15 year prison sentence awaited him.

Deffenbaugh had been sentenced to a suspended 15 year prison sentence and five years probation in September 2008, after his conviction for theft in Calvert County.  Corporal Gary Mounts of the Maryland State police completed the  investigation that  revealed 551 victims who had been bilked out of cemetery services they had paid for. 

Members of the Maryland State Police, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia Beach Police, and the U.S. Coast Guard never believed Deffenbaugh, an accomplished scuba diver and self-proclaimed expert in the water, accidentally fell overboard and drowned.  Their suspicions fueled their relentless pursuit of the truth and the real whereabouts of Deffenbaugh.  

Investigators contacted producers from “America’s Most Wanted” and a show profiling the Deffenbaugh case aired in November 2009.  Although investigators followed up occasional leads, their search continued to result in dead ends. 

Recently, members of the Calvert Investigative Team, comprised of the Maryland State Police, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office asked “America’s Most Wanted” to rebroadcast their lookout for Deffenbaugh.  The show aired Saturday, February 13, 2010.  

Within hours of the show airing, a tip came into “America’s Most Wanted” that indicated a man matching Deffenbaugh’s description was living in Baytown, Texas.  Police contacted members of the United States Marshal’s Service in Houston and an immediate search was launched. 

On February 16, State Police and members of the Calvert Investigative Team were notified by the U.S. Marshal’s Service that deputies had arrested Deffenbaugh in the area of the home in which he had been living in Baytown.  Deffenbaugh gave marshals the assumed name he had been living under, but was quickly informed that his ruse was over. 

Deffenbaugh has been charged as a fugitive from justice and is currently being held at the Harris County Jail.  The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland has initiated extradition proceedings to bring Deffenbaugh back to Calvert County to face the charge against him. 

 

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