A Florida man has been accused of failing to report his mother’s death and is suspected of living with her corpse for as many four months, according to a Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office report.
A deputy found the body of 81-year-old Joyce Willis on May 13 in the Pace, Florida, home she shared with her son, Michael Eugene Sticken, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
The deputy had reportedly been asked to check on Willis’ welfare by family members because Sticken, 60, was said to have been preventing relatives from visiting the woman.
The deputy reported noticing a foul odor emanating from the house upon his arrival. Inside the house, he reportedly found two couches pushed together with blankets piled on top and a decomposed body lying under the blankets.
A subsequent report from the Medical Examiner's Office said the body, identified as Willis, had likely been decomposing for one to four months. The cause of death has not yet been determined, according to the News Journal.
Police arrested Sticken on June 25 after a review of the woman’s bank records indicated that Sticken had been making withdrawals from a joint bank account that was still receiving Willis’ monthly $1,400 Social Security payments.
He was charged with grand theft and failure to report a death and booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail.
In an interview with investigators, Sticken insisted he had nothing to do with his mother’s death, describing her as “his best friend,” the arrest report said.
A cause of death for the woman has yet to be determined.
Stricken was released from jail on June 27 after posting a $6,000 bond, according to the Santa Rosa County Jail website. No court date has been reported.
Photo Credit: Santa Rosa County Jail via The News Journal