Officials: Caretaker hid body
EUGENE – An Oregon caretaker buried the body of a man who died in her care and illegally cashed his Social Security checks for at least 15 years, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Carel June Cody, of Cottage Grove, told investigators she concealed the death of John Arnold because she knew state welfare officials would disapprove of her living conditions and her pet monkey, according to court records.
Cody, 46, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene to charges of identity theft and lying to investigators. Prosecutors said more charges could follow.
A witness told investigators that another man in Cody’s care died naked in the woman’s yard, court records show. The unidentified witness said she helped Cody move his body to a bed before authorities were notified.
Prosecutors also said Cody may be stealing disability benefits from a third man currently in her care.
Cody remains in jail, where she has been held without bail since Thursday. Her lawyer, public defender Craig Weinerman, could not be reached.
Officials began investigating Cody when someone told Douglas County authorities that she had physically abused Arnold, who had died from abuse or neglect, according to court records. Prosecutors said Cody enlisted the help of her mother and two friends to bury his body on a property in Yoncalla, about 45 miles south of Eugene, sometime between 1994 and 1996.
Arnold would be about 92 years old today.
Two people acknowledged helping bury the body, authorities said. One said Cody tied a rope around Arnold’s leg and pulled the body from the bed of a pickup into a shallow grave.
Authorities said Cody admitted concealing Arnold’s death and stealing his Social Security benefits.
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