Courtesy of Find a Grave

328: Maria Milagro de Hoyas

Her body was stolen and manipulated by a crazed psycho—and when you Google her name a Wikipedia page for him comes up!

Born: 31 July 1909, Key West, Florida, United States of America

Died: 25 October 1931, Key West, Florida, United States of America

Also Known As: Elena de Hoyas

There is hardly any Google results for Elena other than photos of what happened to her.

So, what happened?

Elena, as she was better known, fell ill with tuberculosis and the aforementioned psycho doctor was the doctor who tried to save her life. When she died, he went nutso. Apparently, he was “in love” with her (more like obsessed) and so he did the natural thing; stole her body and became equally obsessed with preserving her remains and preventing decay. Over the years (yes, years!) the doctor replaced piece after piece of her as Elena’s body slowly decomposed.

Finally, someone noticed something was up, and the doctor was arrested for tomb desecration (according to sources, body snatching was not illegal in Florida at the time. Thanks Florida).

But Elena still didn’t receive justice. Why? Oh, well, the statute of limitations for the crime had passed and so there was nothing they could do, other than take away what was left of Elena for a proper burial (after she was put on display and 7,000 people came to see her body).

To learn more about Elena’s story, watch Ask a Mortician’s video linked in this article.


  1. Some sources state that the horrible doctor may have tried to...consummate his relationship with Elena after her death. However, other sources say this information wasn't uncovered until 1972 and might be fake. I didn't include it in the original article because I'm sincerely hoping it was fake, but included it here in case any of you looked at the sources and wondered.
  2. Why have I refused to use the doctor’s name when literally every other source on the internet uses it, you may ask? Well, the same reason I refuse to use the name of anyone who committed rape or murder or any other heinous crime (seriously, look through my other entries, unless the name is actually important to the story, I won’t use it). The only time I use the name of a criminal is if they are an actual entry on my list, and that only happens when its an extraordinary story or the “criminal” isn’t really a criminal in my opinion. So anyway, there it is. I won’t name the people who should be forgotten, and I will name those that should be remembered.

Badges Earned:

Find a Grave Marked