Woman pleads to hiding mother's dead body, collecting benefits

WILMINGTON, NC - Posted by Scott Saxton - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A New Hanover County woman pleaded guilty Thursday to hiding her dead mother's corpse and continuing to collect her retirement benefits for several months.

Amy Blanche Stewart admitted guilt to failing to report the death of her mother, two counts of obtaining property under false pretenses and concealing a death.  None are considered jailable offenses.

Stewart was sentenced to three consecutive suspended sentences of 5-6 months, followed by three years of probation.  She will have to pay restitution of $3,354 to the Social Security Administration and $4,961.64 to the Office of Personnel Management.  Stewart will also have to continue mental health treatments that began shortly after her arrest in December.

This all came to light in December 2009, when someone called authorities to report that Blanche Roth was unconscious inside her home on Cherry Laurel Court in Wilmington.  Detectives say the 87-year-old woman died sometime in the spring of 2009.

District Attorney Ben David said five people were living in the home with the decaying body.

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