When Jeanne Souron-Mathers died in November, police in Tooele, Utah, were startled to find the body of her husband Paul in a chest freezer at the couple’s home.
That wasn’t all. Police also discovered a notarized letter from Paul stating that his wife was not responsible for his death, according to a search warrant unsealed this week.
Investigators now believe that Paul Mathers died a decade ago and are investigating the possibility that monthly payments to him from Veterans Affairs and Social Security kept coming in after his death.
Sgt. Jeremy Hansen of the Tooele Police Department said investigators have filed subpoenas and are still awaiting financial records. The VA payments would total at least $177,000, Hansen said.
The letter raises questions whether the couple planned to keep his death a secret so the husband’s benefits would continue to roll in for Souron-Mathers, KSTU reported.
Neighbor James Kite told the station the benefits were the widow’s sole source of income.
“I think he died and she kept him so she didn’t have to turn in his social security,” he said.
Paul Mathers is believed to have died between February 4, 2009 and March 8, 2009, Hansen said. He had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was being treated at a local Veterans Affairs medical center, Hansen said, and was last seen there on February 4, 2009.
But before he died, Paul Mathers wrote a letter stating his wife was not responsible for his death, and that letter was notarized in December 2008, the search warrant said.
“Detectives tracked down the notary and she said she didn’t read it, she just stamped it,” Hansen said.
Sgt. Hansen declined to disclose Paul Mathers’ illness. Jeanne Souron-Mathers, 75, died in November from what appears to be natural causes, Hansen added.