Police: Woman failed to report death, stole car
After a man who ingested heroin died, a West Palm Beach woman left him in a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway for eight days, stole his car and cashed stolen checks, according to police.
Dawn Loraine Griffiths, 38, turned herself in to the Palm Beach Police Department on Friday, about a month after police said 43-year-old William Ross Harris’ body was found in a moored boat.
When police asked Griffiths why she had not reported the death sooner, she told police she was “high and freaked out,” according to a sworn affidavit.
Griffiths told police that she and a friend boarded a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway on Aug. 12 to meet with Harris, who lived on the boat, according to the affidavit.
On the boat, Griffiths said Harris snorted “two large lines” of heroin, according to the affidavit. According to police, Griffiths then said she wanted to buy drugs for herself and Harris gave her permission to use his car.
Before Griffiths left, she said Harris fell asleep on a couch and made “odd noises,” and two other people on the boat were worried he was overdosing, police said. But Griffiths said she thought Harris was just sleeping.
A few hours later, Griffiths said she received a call from a friend on the boat who said that Harris had died from an overdose, according to the affidavit. Griffiths returned to the boat and found Harris dead, police said.
Griffiths then left the boat, according to the affidavit, taking Harris’ car keys and stealing checks belonging to the boat’s captain, who was out of town. Griffiths cashed the checks and kept Harris’ car for another week, police said.
Police said she did not report the death to police until she turned herself in Friday.
Griffiths was charged with two felony counts of grand theft between $300 and $5,000, two felony counts of a scheme to defraud property under $20,000, two felony counts of uttering forged instruments, one felony count of vehicle theft and one misdemeanor charge of failing to report a death.
She is being held on $28,000 bond.