Kansas couple allegedly hid a dead relative to collect his retirement

A Kansas couple has been charged with fraudulently collecting more than $215,000 in retirement benefits on behalf of a dead relative while they concealed his body inside their home for six years.

Authorities say Mike Carroll’s pacemaker showed that he died in 2016 at age 81, but Overland Park police didn’t discover his body until 2022 after his son-in-law, Kirk Ritter, called police to report his death in the Kansas City suburb.

Prosecutors say Lynn Ritter and Kirk Ritter, both 61, continued depositing and spending from Carroll’s bank account even while his body became “mummified” on a bed in the home he owned. Lynn Ritter is Carroll’s daughter.

Family members told the Kansas City Star that the Ritters would repeatedly give them excuses about why Carroll could never take a phone call or visit while leading them to believe that Carroll was still alive.

The couple is due to appear in federal court to face several charges on Feb. 2. They didn’t respond to phone and email messages from the newspaper, and court documents do not list a defense attorney representing them.

Prosecutors said the pension and Social Security payments Carroll received over the six years after his death totaled $216,067. But bank records from that time showed checks being written from his bank account and cashed by Lynn and Kirk Ritter.