Welfare Check Leads Police to Skeleton, Possible Remains of Homeowner's Son

Texas police discovered skeletal remains in a kitchen while conducting a welfare check and the homeowner told officers the skeleton was his son, authorities said.

New Boston Police officers responded Tuesday night to the wellness call for Jason McMichael just after 5 p.m. When they arrived at the home, they found skeletal remains in the kitchen. His father, David, told police that the remains were of his son, who died in May 2018, the department said in a statement posted on Facebook.

At the home, police asked David McMichael if he knew why they were there. He said it was "because he had a body in his kitchen." Authorities took McMichael into custody shortly after locating the remains. He was booked in the Bi-State Jail, charged with abuse of a corpse.

Under Texas law, abuse of a corpse is defined as a person who disturbs or damages a human corpse. It's also illegal to conceal a body knowing it will be illegally buried or to buy or sell a human corpse. Additionally, vandalizing, damaging or offensive manners in an area where human remains have been laid to rest is considered abuse.

"After examining the skeletal remains it was determined that the body was that of a male possibly Jason McMichael. The Body was released to Mid-South Transport and taken to the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas for Autopsy and further identification," the police said in a statement.

A police department spokesperson told Newsweek that an immediate family member requested the wellness check. The cause of death is unknown at this time and no immediate ages were given, but the department did confirm the deceased male was an adult.

If McMichael is found guilty, he could face up to two years in prison along with a fine of up to $10,000. Originally in Texas, abuse of a corpse was a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, but state lawmakers approved Senate Bill 524 in 2017 making the offense a state jail felony.

This isn't the first time Texas authorities have discovered skeletal remains inside a home. Last year, police received a call from a 15-year-old who had been living with the remains of his 9-year-old brother for an entire year.

Harris County officers said they found three boys, ages 15, 10 and 7, abandoned inside a Houston apartment. Authorities said the remains were reportedly left out in the apartment, unhidden from the other children.

The children showed signs of malnourishment and all three were taken to the hospital for treatment. The 15-year-old told authorities that their parents had not lived with them for several months, Newsweek previously reported.

Updated 3/30/22, 4:43 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

Police Find Skeleton During Welfare Check
Texas police found skeletal remains in a homeowner's kitchen during a welfare check, authorities said. Matt Rourke/AP Photo