After Man’s Death, Woman Watches NASCAR with Him for 18 Months

A Michigan woman didn't want to say goodbye to her friend, so she kept the corpse in his armchair.

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Drew Hallowell / Getty Images for NASCAR

A crash during the Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 on April 30, 2011 in Richmond, Virginia.

Charles Zigler of Jackson, Michigan died in December 2010. Eighteen months later he was still sitting in his armchair, watching TV. That’s because 72-year-old Linda Chase, with whom he shared a house for more than ten years, decided to keep Zigler’s corpse well after he drew his final breath.

“It’s not that I’m heartless,” Chase told the Jackson Citizen Patriot on July 10. “It’s just that after so many bad things happen to you…I didn’t want to be alone. He was the only guy who was ever nice to me.”

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Chase, who reportedly spoke to the newspaper in a flood of tears, said that Zigler passed away peacefully around Christmas 2010. He was 67. In the months that followed she dressed and cleaned the corpse daily. It appears that she carried on with her routines as if nothing had happened. She would still speak to her deceased friend while watching NASCAR. (Despite the deep attachment, Chase maintains the pair were not romantically involved.)

Friends and family grew concerned when they were unable to reach Zigler following the 2010 holiday. They made repeated attempts to visit him, but Chase, whom they mistook for his girlfriend, always said he had stepped out. His niece Barb finally called 911 on July 6, which led to the gruesome discovery. “[Chase is] always telling everyone he’s gone,” she says on the 911 recording, questioning how a man on an oxygen tank could stray so far so frequently. “We don’t understand how he could be gone when he’s in such bad shape.”

Chase cooperated fully and voluntarily. She admitted that she had kept and tended to the body, and revealed that she had cashed Zigler’s Social Security checks after he passed away.  “I’m probably going to prison,” she told the paper. “I told them the truth. I didn’t lie about that.”

Chase not been arrested, but police have said they are investigating charges of financial fraud.

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