Corey Theodore Starks pleaded guilty in Curry County Circuit Court this week to felony abuse of a corpse in an incident in which he allegedly buried his father under a trailer in their RV park in Port Orford.
Starks also could face homicide charges, as well as federal charges of collecting his father’s Social Security checks since his death.
A sentencing date for the guilty plea has not been scheduled. The maximum sentence for abuse of corpse, a Class C felony, is five years in prison and a fine of $125,000.
The case began in March 2013 when the new owner of the Anchor Inn RV Park called Port Orford police to report he’d found a human skull under a trailer he moved during park renovations. Other bones were discovered in the immediate area later that afternoon.
The body was later identified as Charles Owen Starks, who was born Feb. 25, 1939, and originally from Rochester, Minn. He and his son lived at the RV park from 2009 to 2010. The cause of death was listed as homicide as a result of blunt force trauma.
Federal investigators found the 39-year-old Starks in Remer, Minn., after they learned someone was drawing on the elder Stark’s Social Security benefits and using a bank account in both of their names. He was arrested April 8, extradited to Portland and held on federal charges related to the Social Security benefits charges
Curry County Sheriff Det. Dave Gardiner requested an arrest warrant for Starks April 10 for the local charges.
When arrested, Starks told investigators his father had died of natural causes on March 1, 2010, and admitted to burying his father.
Additionally, Starks allegedly told a neighbor that he and his father had an argument that day, and he had left the home, returning a half-hour later to find his father dead. The neighbor said Corey Starks admitted he and his father did not get along and that he “was glad his father was dead and gone.”