TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian family lived with a corpse in their upstairs bedroom for six months because they believed the deceased man would be resurrected if they prayed, but the body was discovered when the family was evicted for not paying the mortgage.
Kaling Wald, 50, pleaded guilty to failing to notify police that her husband had died, an offense under the provincial Coroner’s Act, and was sentenced on Monday to probation and counseling, her lawyer told Reuters on Tuesday.
Peter Wald, 52, died in March 2013 of what authorities believe were natural causes following a foot infection linked to his diabetes, defense lawyer Peter Boushy said.
His wife Kaling Wald left him in bed and sealed up the bedroom in their Hamilton, Ontario, home to prevent the odor of decomposition from disturbing the busy household, which included five of the couple’s six children, as well as other adults living in the home.
“Just as Jesus raised Lazarus after the fourth day, so too did she believe God would resurrect her husband in due time,” said Boushy. The family was active in Christian street ministry and outreach in Hamilton, an industrial city about 70 kms southwest of Toronto.
“There clearly was an over-exuberance of one’s faith,” he added.
The corpse was discovered in September 2013 when the local sheriff arrived to evict the family after they defaulted on the mortgage. It had attracted rodents and was badly decomposed, but the family had packed his things in preparation for the eviction and did not attempt to conceal the corpse.
The Children’s Aid Society investigated the family after the discovery of the corpse, but found no concerns and the case was closed, documents showed.
Boushy said his client now understands what the law required and would not do the same thing again.
“She certainly was remorseful, and definitely was teary-eyed,” he said. “Indeed, she noted that she was never actually able to cry over the passing of her husband, but this seemed to have been an emotional breakthrough after the court proceedings yesterday. I think counseling is certainly going to be beneficial for her.”
Reporting by Andrea Hopkins. Editing by Andre Grenon