A note uncovered at the Utah home where a body had been stuffed inside a freezer for up to a decade provided some clues about the man’s mysterious death, according to a report.
Paul Edwards Mathers’ remains may have been hidden in the freezer of his Toole apartment since 2009 so his wife, Jeanne Souron-Mathers, could continue to collect his Social Security benefits, news station Fox 13 reported.
His body — along with a notarized note stating his wife didn’t kill him — was found intact in the apartment during a welfare check Nov. 22, shortly after his 75-year-old wife died of natural causes, officials said.
Investigators initially had few leads on his cause of death — or how long his remains had been hidden in the apartment, with some neighbors claiming that they hadn’t seen him in 11 years, the outlet reported.
But in a twist, authorities have since found the letter dated Dec. 2, 2008.
“We believe he had a terminal illness,” Tooele police Sgt. Jeremy Hansen told the outlet.
Mathers last was seen on Feb. 4, 2009, at an appointment at the nearby Veterans Affairs Hospital, authorities said.
Officials believe his wife put his body in the freezer sometime between that last sighting and March 8, 2009, according to the outlet.
Police didn’t speculate on her motive for living with her dead husband — but she received at least $177,000 in government payments after his death, the outlet reported.
“I think he died and she kept him so she didn’t have to turn in his Social Security,” neighbor James Kite told the outlet. “Based on what I know now, I’d have to say it was probably the plan, yeah, for her to keep the money because it was her only source of income.”
Souron-Mathers lived in the building about 25 miles west of Salt Lake City since 2007. Her body was discovered along with her husband’s after a welfare check was made at the home.
Detectives are continuing to investigate and have not ruled out homicide.
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