Woman kept dead roommate's body for 18 months

2:26 PM, Jul 12, 2012   |    comments
(AP File)
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JACKSON, Mich. -- Police in Jackson, Mich., are investigating why a 72-year-old woman kept her roommate's body in their home for more than a year and a half after he died.

For nearly 19 months, Linda Chase cleaned 67-year-old Charles Zigler, talked to him and watched NASCAR races with him on TV, according to mlive.com.

"That's morbid what I did," Chase told WLNS-TV. "It really is. It's horrible."

On Friday, police found Zigler's mummified body covered with blankets in a recliner in the living room.

Officers had gone to the house after family members called police, concerned for Zigler's welfare, Lt. Chris Simpson told mlive.com.

Zigler's son Walter Zigler told mlive.com that his father had been ill for years with emphysema and used an oxygen tank to breathe.

He said he had tried more than once to visit his father, but Chase "wouldn't let me see him."  He didn't know his father had died.

"That wasn't right to leave him lay like that," Walter Zigler told mlive.com.

An autopsy determined his father died of natural causes -- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -- around Christmas 2010, according to the medical examiner.

"He just went to sleep," Chase told WILX-TV.

Chase acknowledged to reporters she should have called authorities when Zigler died, but said she wasn't ready to let go and didn't want to be alone.

She called Zigler her best friend and said she could tell him anything.

"I knew I should have called the ambulance," she told WLNS. "I know that. I know that in my heart. I didn't do it to be evil."

Walter Zigler said his father had worked for years in a Jackson shop and received Social Security and pension checks and veteran benefits.

Chase admitted to police that she cashed Zigler's Social Security checks, mlive.com reported.

Police are investigating and will submit a report to the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office for review and possible charges, including fraud, Simpson said, according to mlive.com.

The prosecutor's office said Wednesday the police were still reviewing the case.


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