A Paris man kept his mother’s corpse in an apartment for seven years in order to collect her pension, a French newspaper reported on Thursday.
The 47-year-old Serbian man, identified only as Sasa, turned himself in to police on Tuesday morning, according to Le Parisien. He told the authorities his mother, Zlaka, had died of cancer in 2014 when she was 75 years old. She died alone in the apartment without having received treatment for her illness, he said.
Le Parisien reported that a police patrol and a judicial police officer, accompanied by the suspect, made their way to the apartment, in Paris’ 20th arrondissement. Zlaka’s body was found in the bathroom, mummified in a fetal position and kept in a suitcase covered with tarpaulin.
Sasa told police he had hidden his mother’s tarp-covered body in a cupboard after her death, as well as using expanding foam to cover the smell of decomposition. He admitted that he had failed to declare his mother’s death and kept the cadaver so he could collect her pension.
A neighbor told Le Parisien that when Sasa was asked about his mother, he explained her disappearance by claiming Zlaka had moved back to Serbia to live out her final years.
Sasa was placed in the custody of Paris’ second judicial police district, which oversees the 20th arrondissement, among others. According to magazine Le Point, he was later released.
Homicide was ruled out after an autopsy conducted by the Paris forensic institute on Wednesday did not reveal signs of violence.
An anonymous source told Le Parisien that investigators suspect the man opted to “end the masquerade” after receiving an eviction notice for the apartment, as he “did not know what to do with the mummy.”
Newsweek has contacted the Paris prosecutor’s office and French police for comment.
In October 2020, Le Parisien reported that a 73-year-old man in the Paris suburb of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés had been detained on suspicion of killing his father around 17 years earlier and continuing to collect his pension.
The son allegedly hid the body in a freezer, so he could get his hands on the 3,500 euros ($4,200) given to his father each month in retirement payments. The man was accused of pocketing close to $850,000 in the years after his father’s death.
The authorities were tipped off after the son’s mistress reported him for mistreating their 13-year-old daughter, alleging that he had revealed his activities during an argument. The suspect has denied killing his father, according to Le Parisien.