Police: Woman hid mother’s body in freezer to collect disability benefits

SEBASTIAN — A 64-year-old woman who police say hid her mother’s body in a chest freezer inside a garage out of fear her disability benefits would end, was jailed on Thursday. The mother, Marie Hoskins, 93, died of natural causes and was placed in the freezer about two weeks after her death, officers said.

Michele Rene Hoskins

The daughter, Michele Rene Hoskins, of the 100 block of Paddock Street, Sebastian, has been charged with failing to report a death and tampering with or destroying evidence. Hoskins was held Friday at the Indian River County Jail on $10,000 bond.

“The daughter was already on disability benefits,” said Sebastian Police Cpt. said Tim Wood. “She feared that her own benefits would end because of her mother’s death.”

Sebastian police obtained the arrest warrant for Hoskins on Thursday. Hoskins lived at the residence with his mother.

“During her interview with police detectives, Michele admitted to finding her deceased mother in her bedroom,” Sebastian Police said in a statement. “Michele then bought a freezer to cover up her mother’s death, fearing that she could not receive her disability benefits.”

The incident unfolded on April 28 when officers responded to a welfare check at the home, located north of Barber Street. A neighbor was worried that he wouldn’t see Marie Hoskins for a long time.

‘Officers made several unsuccessful attempts to contact anyone at the residence and were unable to obtain any information on the whereabouts of Ms. Hoskins,’ police first said.

Officers obtained a key to the house with the help of an out-of-town family member. Police entered the residence and found Michele Hoskins, who initially said she had not seen her mother in some time, officers said.

Police searched the property and found Marie Hoskins’ body in a large freezer in the garage, officials said. Officers also discovered a very dirty bed mattress – hidden in thick brush and covered in cut palm branches – in the backyard.

Michele Hoskins was arrested and taken to the county jail.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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