Edward Fitchett's father Henry, 87, died of natural causes in December 2015, authorities believe

By Jeff Truesdell
April 05, 2017 02:11 PM
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An Oregon man who hid his deceased father’s body in a freezer and continued to spend his Social Security checks was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison, PEOPLE confirms.

Edward Conley Fitchett, 57, of Aurora, who had been held since February in the Marion County Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree abuse of a corpse and six counts of first-degree theft, according to multiple reports.

He also was ordered by a Marion County Circuit Court judge to pay funeral expenses for his father, Henry Conley Fitchett Jr., who was 87 when authorities believe he died of natural causes around December 2015, reports The Oregonian.

According to a probable cause statement, Edward Fitchett gave conflicting accounts to those who inquired about his father’s whereabouts, reports the Statesman Journal.

The two were living together in Edward Fitchett’s mobile home around Christmas 2015. A witness who saw Henry Fitchett during that time told police the elder man appeared to be in failing health and had difficulty recognizing people.

Days later, the witness said Henry Fitchett was gone from the residence.

Credit: Marion County Sheriff's Office

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Edward Fitchett initially told family members that Henry had moved in with another son. But the second son told police it had been almost three years since he’d seen his father.

Later, Edward Fitchett told investigators his father had moved away with his girlfriend.

In August 2016, someone claiming to be Henry Fitchett called his doctor’s office to say he would no longer require the doctor’s services because he was “fine,” according to the probable cause statement.

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In January the Marion County Sheriff’s Office reported Henry Fitchett missing, and listed his last apparent sighting as approximately September 2016.

On Feb. 16, police arrested Edward Fitchett after they searched the property the two men shared and found Henry’s body in a vacuum-sealed bag in a freezer inside a storage shed next to Edward’s mobile home.

Edward later admitted to spending $2,000 a month from his father’s bank accounts which included the Social Security deposits, reports KATU.

Authorities say he spent the money on rent, utilities, and to make purchases on Amazon.com, among other uses.