Authorities have charged a woman after she was caught hiding her mother’s dead body as part of a scheme to fraudulently collect Social Security checks.
Kimberly Heller, 54, faces criminal charges after police discovered her mother’s body in her New Hampshire home after weeks of investigation, Bedford Police said Friday. Heller had kept the body hidden since her mother died sometime in May, it said.
Police began investigating Heller in late October after other relatives in the family called over concerns they hadn’t seen the mother for several months. Bedford Police officers attempted to perform a health check on Oct. 25, but Heller denied them entry to her home.
After further investigation into the matter, officers returned to Heller’s home an unspecified time later with a search warrant. Once inside, they were able to locate her mother’s body. The mother, whose name and age at death have not been released to the public, died of natural causes a few days before Memorial Day, according to an autopsy performed by the state coroner.
Heller was arrested on November 18 and charged with misusing a corpse. She is accused of running the scheme so she could continue to collect her mother’s Social Security checks, which authorities found were still being deposited into an account after her death. She will be arraigned at the 9th Circuit Court in Merrimack on January 6.
“The Bedford Police Department has contacted the Inspector General’s Federal Office of Social Security,” the department’s statement said, “and is coordinating the Inspector General’s investigation as the investigation indicated that Social Security payments from Heller’s mother continued to be deposited into her bank account in the months following her death.”
news week contacted Bedford Police for comment on this story.
In August, police arrested a woman in Lincoln, Arkansas, for a similar alleged crime. Deputies from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office arrested Geanna Pike after finding the corpse of her mother, Gloria Pike, apparently mummified with newspapers and hidden in her home. An investigation later found that Pike had stolen her late mother’s identity, using her “check card” for certain transactions. Pike claimed that her mother had passed away in late 2020 and owed her money that she had promised to repay.
In October 2020, a woman was arrested in Wisconsin on charges even more similar to Heller’s. Paula Ann Bergold was accused of hiding her mother’s dead body in a basement bath while she continued to collect her Social Security checks. Bergold claimed that her mother had died while sitting in a chair and that she could not bring herself to report the death to the police.