Police believe a man kept his 96-year-old mother's body frozen for 3 years so he could continue to collect her retirement benefits and Social Security checks after her death.
When Pulaski County, Ky. sheriffs showed up at Jon Whiteford's house to question him about his mother, Faye, he killed himself with a gunshot to the head. Faye Whiteford's body was later found tied up in a tarp near the driveway of a property her son had been renting. Police believe she died of natural causes in the spring of 2011.
Without Whiteford's testimony, law enforcement has been piecing together the story by talking to friends and neighbors, and what they've found is gruesome.
A friend of Whiteford's told police that his mom was always a touchy subject.
"We didn't know she had passed away, and we were afraid to ask," Al Fried said. He speculated that Whiteford, who had to move out of his mom's house after her retirement money wasn't enough to avoid foreclosure, waited to report her death because he didn't want the money to dry up.
After the foreclosure, Whiteford rented a broken-down house in another county and moved his mother's body there, while he lived at a friend's house near his mom's old place.
When he went to apply for welfare benefits of his own, he told officials he lived in his car. He also confessed his mother was dead, but said he didn't know how she died or where her body was.
"Jon stored her in a freezer from 2011 until around Christmas of 2013 when he was forced to leave his home," Pulaski Sheriff's Lt. Brett Whittaker told local news station Lex 18.
Because of the cold winter, her remains likely remained frozen until they were discovered last month.