A 40-year-old woman from Reims in north-eastern France has been caught handing over a sports bag containing her mother's body to staff at a funeral parlour.
When the lady was questioned by the police, she stated that she had been in a state of shock when she discovered her mother's lifeless body in her garden a few days earlier.
Instead of alerting the emergency services, she took the body inside her house and left it there for several days.
According to French daily L'Union, the woman then placed her mother's body in a sports bag which she then transported to a funeral parlour in a wheelchair. Staff at the funeral parlour alerted the police, who have ordered an autopsy to rule out any criminal involvement in the death.
In a similar recent incident, a Chinese man was caught trying to smuggle his two-year-old daughter's body in a travel bag. The child had apparently died of hand, foot and mouth disease. He was caught when airport staff put the bag through a security scanner.
When the man, subsequently named as Yang Cheng, was quizzed by the police, he stated that he resorted to that desperate measure as he was not able to afford a hearse.
"We are not wealthy and the undertakers wanted to charge us a fortune. It was perfectly dignified and the other passengers would never have known anything about it if the bus company hadn't made such a fuss," Yang stated.
The police, however, reiterated that it was "forbidden to transport bodies on public transport, especially in such an undignified way. The tradition is for bodies to be taken home, but not stuffed in a bag in a luggage rack," a police spokesman stated.