Man found in wife’s freezer may have planned to hide his death, helping her get benefits
A man whose body was stored inside his wife’s chest freezer for more than a decade may have planned his end to be that way, because keeping his death a secret allowed his wife to keep collecting his government benefits.
The wife’s alibi about her husband’s disappearance years ago was reportedly that he walked out on her.
Paul Edward Mathers, who would have been 69 years old today, was found dead last month inside the freezer of his recently-deceased wife Jeanne, as per Fox affiliate KSTU on Nov. 25. His body has been there since February or March 2009.
Police found Mathers’ body after checking in on Jeanne, 75, who lives in a retirement community in Utah, United States. Authorities said they often conducted welfare checks on the elderly woman to make sure she was fine.
Authorities found an already dead Jeanne lying on her bed on Nov. 22. To try to determine how long she may have been dead, the police checked on her refrigerator and freezer for hints. They then found her husband’s body.
The case, which police have dubbed “crazy,” has been undergoing investigation for almost a month now. Authorities are looking into the possibility that there was no foul play involved, but still have not ruled out homicide from the picture.
Jeanne, who died of natural causes, may have had an agreement with her husband prior to his death in 2009 to hide his body from authorities. This way, Jeanne can keep collecting Mather’s Social Security and Veteran’s Affairs benefits, as per KSTU last Monday, Dec. 16.
Investigators found a notarized letter inside the freezer with Mathers’ body. It stated that Mather’s wife was not responsible for his death, which has since raised questions as to whether the couple really did connive on getting the benefits.
“It was notarized on December 2, 2008,” Sgt. Jeremy Hansen of the Tooele Police Department was quoted as saying. “We believe he had a terminal illness.”
Police contacted the person who notarized the letter, who Hansen said claimed that “she didn’t read the note, she just stamped it.”
Jeanne’s fellow retirement community resident, named James Kite, believes this is the case, as said in an interview with the news outlet.
“I think he died and she kept him so she didn’t have to turn in his social security,” Kite was quoted as saying. “It’s been crazy. I’ve never seen anything like what’s been going on here.”
Another resident named Evan Kline claimed that the elderly woman “couldn’t hurt a fly.” Jeanne apparently also told Kline that her husband walked out on her.
“Jeanne was, by all appearances, a very nice person. Very friendly. We’ve talked to her quite a bit and took her to doctor appointments,” Kline was quoted as saying.
Police claim Jeanne received more than $177,00 (P8.9 million) from the government benefits. Ian Biong/JB
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