Man Kept Mother's Body in Living Room for Weeks After Her Death—Police

A man stored his mother's body in the living room of a Texas home for weeks after she died, according to police.

Police in Van Zandt County, just southeast of Dallas, carried out an investigation at a home in the 600 block of County Road 3828 on February 14, after a friend of the woman living there became concerned they had not heard from her.

According to ABC affiliate KLTV, Sheriff Joe Carter said a deputy spoke with Douglas Dean Kilburn, 49, who said his mother had left the area and did not want to be bothered.

Carter told the network on Tuesday, February 20: "Something didn't sit right with the deputy, so he went back yesterday."

A mugshot of Douglas Dean Kilburn
A mugshot of Douglas Dean Kilburn. Kilburn allegedly kept his mother's dead body for weeks. Police handout

When the deputy returned to the home, he questioned Kilburn about the whereabouts of his mother.

Kilburn is alleged to have admitted his mother was dead and was inside a carpet wrapped in duct tape in the property's living room.

He then explained his mother had died around February 1, and he kept her in the home so he could continue to visit her.

Newsweek found Kilburn had been charged with abuse of a corpse and was being held in the Van Zandt County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.

Under Texas law, abuse of a corpse is committed when a person, without legal authority, knowingly does the following:

  • Disinters, disturbs, damages, dissects, in whole or in part, carries away, or treats in an offensive manner a human corpse;
  • Conceals a human corpse knowing it to be illegally disinterred;
  • Sells or buys a human corpse or in any way traffics in a human corpse;
  • Transmits or conveys, or procures to be transmitted or conveyed, a human corpse to a place outside the state; or
  • Vandalizes, damages, or treats in an offensive manner the space in which a human corpse has been interred or otherwise permanently laid to rest.

According to Texas attorney Paul Saputo, abuse of a corpse had been a Class A misdemeanor until September 1, 2017.

On his website, Saputo explained: "However, with the passage of S.B. 524, 85th Legislature, effective September 1, 2017, a conviction for Abuse of Corpse is by default a state jail felony, unless the offense was a conviction under subsection (a)(5)."

Sheriff Carter said an autopsy would be carried out on Wednesday (February 22) and said Kilburn could be charged again if it is learned the death was a homicide.

Newsweek has contacted the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office for comment.