Austria Man Kept Mother’s Body in Basement to Cash in Her Benefits: Police

  • A man kept his mother’s mummified body in the basement more than a year after she died to continue collecting her pension and welfare benefits, according to police.
  • Officials said the man used ice packs to keep the body cold and bandages to soak up bodily fluids, eventually mummifying her.
  • The situation was uncovered by a postman who asked to see the beneficiary of the benefit check he was delivering.

A man in Austria kept his mother’s “mummified” body in the basement for more than a year after she died to continue collecting her pension and care benefits, Tyrol police said in a news release on Thursday.¬†

The unidentified 66-year-old man from Tyrol in West Austria told police that his 89-year-old mother died at home in mid-2020, per the news release. Officials said the mother was believed to have had dementia, Austrian national public service broadcaster ORF reported.

The man stored his mother’s body with ice packs to prevent odor and used bandages to soak up fluids, police officer Helmuth Gufler from the Tyrol social security fraud department told ORF Tyrol.

“Ultimately, the corpse was then mummified,” Gufler told ORF Tyrol.

Officials said the suspect confessed during an interrogation.

An autopsy was carried out on Wednesday and no signs of foul play in the woman’s death were detected, Tyrol police said in the news release.

Police estimate the man had collected around 50,000 euros ($59,150) from his mother’s benefits, per the BBC. Gufler told ORF the suspect had no other income, and that his mother’s monthly benefits payments would have been cut off if he had reported her death.

The situation was uncovered when a new postman asked to see the payments’ beneficiary, the police said in a statement, per the BBC. When the man refused, the postman alerted the authorities, leading police to discover the body in the basement, officials said.

The suspect has been accused of fraud and hiding a dead body, according to local police.

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