The body of a Utah man who was last seen in 2009 was discovered in a freezer in his wife’s apartment. Authorities were conducting a welfare check on Jeanne Sourone-Mathers and found that the 75-year-old had died of natural causes. While searching her home in a retirement community in Tooele, they found the body of her husband, 69-year-old Paul Edwards Matthews,hidden in a freezer in a utility room.
When they searched the freezer, they found a notarized letter from 2008 in which Matthews wrote that his wife did not kill him. Officials believe that he had a terminal illness and was last seen on February 4, 2009 at an appointment at the Veterans Affairs hospital. Investigators believe that Sourone-Mathers put her husband’s body the freezer not long after they returned from the hospital.
Authorities interviewed the woman who notarized Matthews’ letter, but she told investigators she didn’t read it before she stamped it.
Investigators believe that Sourone-Mathers never reported her husband’s death so she could continue to receive his retirement benefits, which were her only source of income. They estimate that she received at least $177,000 in government benefits over the 10-year period.
Despite the fact that Matthews claimed his wife did not kill him, officials have not ruled out homicide. They are continuing their investigation and said that his letter contains more details about the case.
Sourone-Mathers’ neighbors had no idea she was keeping her husband’s body in a freezer. She reportedly told them he walked out on her.
“I think he died, and she kept him, so she didn’t have to turn in his social security,” said James Kite, who lives in the retirement community. “It’s been crazy. I’ve never seen anything like what’s been going on here.”