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Upstate New York Woman Admits to Keeping Mother's Corpse for More Than a Year To Collect Government Checks

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Courtesy Fulton County District Attorney's Office

An upstate New York woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to keeping her dead 93-year-old mother’s body in the house so she could keep receiving the mother’s government benefit checks, Fulton County Prosecutors confirm to PEOPLE.

Mary Kersting, 60, pleaded guilty to charges including grand larceny, disposal of a body, and endangering the welfare of an elderly person, assistant district attorney Chad Brown tells PEOPLE.

She admitted she stole more than $13,000 in Social Security and pension benefits, and also admitted she never called authorities to get medical care for her mother or to take her body away, Brown says.

Kersting’s mother, Hope Ruller, died in October of 2013 of undetermined causes, Brown said. In December of 2014, a family member contacted authorities about a welfare check on Ruler, which led cops to the gruesome discovery of Ruller’s dead body.

“There was an odor, but it wasn’t the same as what it was probably once before” because so much time had passed since Ruller died, Brown says.

Kersting will be sentenced on Nov. 6 and faces six months in jail.

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