A woman's body was found in a freezer after her adult son died, and prosecutors said the man's death means they have no basis for pursuing charges.
Authorities think Eloise Wentz, 80, died about five months ago and her body was kept in a freezer by her son, The Star-News of Wilmington reported Wednesday.
Investigators said foul play wasn't suspected in either death.
New Hanover County assistant prosecutor Jon David said the death of the son means no charges can be filed.
“We couldn't prosecute someone if we wanted to because their death precludes us from instituting an action against them,” David said.
The woman's body was discovered when her son, Alexander Wentz, 54, was found dead in the house Aug. 11 after neighbors reported an odor coming from the house. An autopsy showed that Alexander Wentz died from complications of alcoholism and “lived a reclusive life.”
The month in which the woman died isn't certain. The newspaper reported that another son, Earl Wentz, said that police found a journal in the house with an entry indicating the woman died March 21. But the son's autopsy said a notation indicated she died in May.
Earl Wentz said his brother might have kept their mother in a chest freezer in a back bedroom so Social Security checks would keep coming to the house. Investigators told him his brother used pre-signed personal checks from the mother's account to access money that was deposited automatically.