A woman kept her dead husband’s body in a freezer for 10 years and collected his VA benefits, police say
When Utah police arrived at a retirement community to conduct a welfare check last month, they were disturbed to find not only the body of the elderly woman who lived there, but an additional man's corpse tucked inside a deep freezer in her utility room
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
When Utah police arrived at a retirement community to conduct a welfare check last month, they were disturbed to find not only the body of the elderly woman who lived there, but an additional man's corpse tucked inside a deep freezer in her utility room.
That man was eventually identified as Paul Mathers, who was 58 years old when he was last seen in 2009. He was the husband of the 75-year-old woman also found in the home, Jeanne Souron-Mathers.
“I've been here 13 years — this is one of the strangest cases,” Tooele City Police Sgt. Jeremy Hansen told media outlets. “We've never had anything like this.”
He said police who arrived at the scene made the discovery after opening Souron-Mathers's fridge and freezer, hoping to find food that would indicate “some type of a timeline” as to when she had died. But when a detective opened up a deep freezer in the utility room, he “immediately finds an unidentified deceased adult male in the freezer,” Hansen said.
Police made the discovery on November 22 and initially called the incident “very suspicious.”
But after several weeks of investigating, police announced Monday they've found several equally bizarre clues that may help explain the incident.
Video: Police investigate body found in freezer during welfare check
Hansen said investigators searching through Souron-Mathers' home found a notarized letter from December 2008 that appeared to be from Mathers, declaring that he was not killed by his wife.
“We believe he had a terminal illness,” Hansen told KSTU, adding that he likely died sometime between February 4, 2009 — the date of his last appointment at a Veterans Affairs hospital — and March 8, 2009.
Hansen also told the Salt Lake Tribune that experts have not yet verified whether the signature on the letter truly belonged to Mathers. He added that the woman who notarized the letter in 2008 told police she never read the document before stamping and signing it herself.
Investigators have also discovered that Souron-Mathers collected roughly $177,000 in Veterans Affairs benefits, and are still looking into whether she also continued to receive Mathers' Social Security benefits.
Hansen told the Tribune that they're still awaiting an autopsy report to confirm the cause of Mathers' death, but that detectives are “wrapping up” their investigation.
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