Woman, Who Hid Dead Mother 2.5 Years

Taken from the July 20, 1937  Topeka Daily Capital

Mrs. Myrtle Lattimer of Seneca, who secreted the body of her mother in her home two and one-half years while she continued to cash her mother’s pension checks, was brought to Topeka yesterday by a deputy United States Marshal from Nebraska to face a charge of violating her parole.

She recently was arrested near Falls City, Neb., in connection with a scheme of collecting money for the sale of silk hosiery without delivering the hose. When it was learned she had received a five-years suspended sentence on an old charge of defrauding the government by cashing her dead mother’s pension checks she was brought to Topeka. She had served two years in the government women’s prison at Anderson, W. Va., on another count.

When Mrs Lattimer was arrested in July 1934, the dismembered body of her mother was found in a shed at the rear of her home. She admitted her mother, Mrs.Marietta Bishop, had been dead two and one-half years and she had been receiving and cashing her mother’s $40 pension checks.

At first she experienced no trouble in cashing the checks. Then one bank suspected the mother was no longer living. It refused to cash any more checks. Mrs. Lattimer solved the problem by cashing them at another bank.

A new postmaster, W. L. Kauffman, refused to deliver the pension letter until he was assured Mrs. Bishop was living. A postal clerk asked to see Mrs. Bishop. Mrs. Lattimer informed him the mother was taking a bath. The clerk replied the check would be delivered if a woman he had brought with him could see Mrs. Bishop. Again Mrs. Lattimer refused.

The sheriff was called but could not even find Mrs. Lattimer. She returned a day later, however and was placed under arrest. 

Mrs. Lattimer said her 90 year-old mother, a Civil War veteran’s widow had died a natural death and that she left the body in the bed about six months, then started to dismember it and burn it because the mother had asked that her body be cremated. This method of disposal not being successful, she put the remains in a trunk and put the trunk in the shed. There officers found it.

Mrs. Lattimer, who gave her age as 73, had to be helped to the women’s ward on the second floor of the city jail.

Supplied by Research Staff of B.C.G.S.