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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Indiana man allegedly kept dead father's body for years while collecting his welfare checks

A northern Indiana man is accused of collecting nearly $50,000 in welfare funds for his late father, all while keeping the man's body in a wheelbarrow at his home.
(Getty Images/Igor Vershinsky)

GOSHEN, Ind. (WTHR) - A northern Indiana man is accused of collecting nearly $50,000 in welfare funds for his late father, all while keeping the man's body in a wheelbarrow at his home.

According to our partners at the Goshen News, 57-year-old Irvin Nicholson Jr. collected more than $46,000 in state and federal welfare funds meant for his father since 2017.

Police responding to a call found human bones in the backyard of a home in Goshen on September 6, 2019. The bones were identified as Nicholson's 82-year-old father.

The younger Nicholson told police he argued with his father about moving to a retirement home in May 2017. When he came home after trying to find help with the move, he said his father was gone. He said he searched for his father for hours before going to bed. He then found the elder Nicholson dead in a garage the next morning.

The cause and manner of Irvin Nicholson Sr.'s death were undetermined, but his son told police he believed his father had fallen and struck his head.

According to court documents, Nicholson wrapped his father's body in a blanket, placed it in a wheelbarrow and stacked boxes on top of it, then kept the remains like that for two years. When his family moved to Goshen early last year, he brought the body with him.

Nicholson said he never called police, fearing his grandchildren would be taken away.

Meanwhile, Nicholson Sr.'s welfare deposits continued to be placed into a bank account and his son reportedly used a card to spend the money, which included more than $27,000 in Social Security payments from May 2017 to August 2019.

Nicholson was charged with three felony counts of welfare fraud and a misdemeanor charge of failure to report a body.