Wisconsin woman kept dead mother in plastic tub for months so she could collect her money

Officers approached the home and noticed “an odor of decay."

September 25, 2019, 7:13 AM

A woman in Wisconsin has been charged with hiding the body of her dead mother in the basement of her home so she could continue collecting her mother’s social security checks and dividends.

Deputies arrived at the home of Ruby Bergold, 89, of Marinette County, Wisconsin last week to do a welfare check after a neighbor called authorities to say that Ruby’s daughter Paula Ann Bergold, 59, had been collecting Ruby’s mail and that Paula was “being evasive to where Ruby might be,” according to ABC’s Green Bay affiliate station WBAY.

Officers approached the home and noticed “an odor of decay” as well as a note taped to the 89-year-old woman’s door that said “Ruby has gone out of to visit some friends of ours. Paula.”

They also discovered packets of mothballs by each door and a “large amount of mothballs in the back of the vehicle that was parked in the driveway,” according to the criminal complaint.

Paula Bergold then arrived at the scene and, when questioned by authorities, insisted that her mother was out of town and told the officers they could enter the premises and see for themselves.

Officers found a series of suspicious items such as a chair covered in Borax along with several boxes of ammonium, bleach and barn lime – but no signs of Ruby.

PHOTO: Paula Bergold is seen here in an undated file photo.
Paula Bergold is seen here in an undated file photo.
Marinette County Sheriff's Office via AP

When questioned by the police she then admitted that she didn’t kill her mother but that she had kept her corpse which was located in a tub in the basement.

"When her mother's body began to smell, Paula decided to get the container from the basement. She placed Ruby's body inside and dragged it down to the basement and placed it where it was found. Paula said she put Borax on the chair and her mother's body due to the bad smell," the criminal complaint obtained by WBAY said.

Investigators were only able to identify that it was Ruby through the serial number on her pacemaker.

Paula had been living off of her mother’s social security, stocks and dividends in the time since her death.

Bergold was arrested last week and charged with Hiding a Corpse, Failure to Report Death, and Obstructing an Officer and is currently in jail after the court set a cash bond of $10,000. She will next appear in court on Oct. 7.