Clarence Bright's 48-year-old religious son was arrested along with another man after officers found an empty casket inside their van at a gas station, Detroit police said.
Bright's final earthly journey was supposed to end Saturday at Gethsemane Cemetery on Detroit's east side, but soggy ground from recent rain postponed the 93-year-old man's burial. The casket was placed near a chapel or a mausoleum on cemetery grounds, and remained there through Monday morning when it was reported stolen.
Acting on a tip that a white van had been seen at the cemetery, police spotted one parked at a gas station on Tuesday. The men and the empty casket were inside, Officer George Day said.
The body was later found in a freezer at the home of Bright's son.
"In the interview with the son, he was ... very distraught," Lt. Harold Rochon said. "He is very religious, and he was hoping his father would be resurrected. He was hoping for a miracle."
Police declined to release the names of Bright's son or the 38-year-old man who was with him. They had not been charged and the theft remains under investigation.