KEY POINTS

  • A 66-year-old Austrian man hid his mother's corpse so he could continue receiving her pension and allowances
  • He received around $59,000 since the death of his mother, whose corpse had been mummified
  • The man has been reported on suspicion of benefit fraud and hiding a dead body

A 66-year-old man in Tyrol, Austria, confessed to hiding the mummified corpse of his mother in their home for more than a year so he could keep claiming her social security, police said.

Authorities discovered the unnamed 89-year-old woman's body in the basement of a property in the Innsbruck-Land region of western Austria on Sept. 4, public broadcaster ORF reported, citing police.

The woman's son, who was also not named, later confessed to keeping the body so he could continue receiving her pension and care allowance, a report by CNN said.

He received around €50,000 ($59,000) since his mother died in June 2020, police said.

"He made sure that there was no odor nuisance. He stored his mother with ice packs, which he swapped regularly. He absorbed any body fluids with bandages," Helmuth Gufler of the police's social security fraud unit was quoted as saying by ORF.

"When he ran out of all of these things, he covered his mother with cat litter. Ultimately, the corpse was mummified," he added.

An autopsy carried out Wednesday did not reveal any signs that the woman's death was suspicious, according to a police statement sent to CNN.

The man would tell his brother that their mother was staying in the hospital when the latter came to visit her. The brother, who believed his sibling, did not want to visit his bedridden mother as she had dementia and would not recognize him, police said.

The woman also had no friends or acquaintances to check on her.

Authorities learned of the body after a new postman had asked to see the recipient of the benefits he was delivering. Her son refused to let the postman see her, which prompted authorities to check the property.

The woman’s son, who has since been reported on suspicion of benefit fraud and hiding a dead body, later told police he did not want to forego his mother's money.

"He knew that if he reports his death, all payments will be stopped immediately. It was clear to him that he could financially neither pay for the funeral nor keep the house in which the two of them lived," Gufler said.

Investigators are reportedly looking for a Romanian nurse who was with the woman when she died last year. They have not been able to contact the nurse as she traveled back to Romania after the woman's death.

A similar incident happened in Japan in June when a 56-year-old woman and her two adult children were arrested after they lived with a man’s corpse for months to collect his pension.

technology-2500010_1920 Representation. A 66-year-old man in Austria allegedly told police he hid his mother's corpse for a year so he could continue to receive her pension and allowances. Photo: Pixabay