Man who hid father's body in freezer sentenced to seven years in - KPTV - FOX 12

Man who hid father's body in freezer sentenced to seven years in prison

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Edward Fitchett in court Tuesday. (KPTV) Edward Fitchett in court Tuesday. (KPTV)
Edward Fitchett, jail booking photo. Edward Fitchett, jail booking photo.
Henry Conley Fitchett Jr., jail booking photo Henry Conley Fitchett Jr., jail booking photo
AURORA, OR (KPTV) -

A man who concealed his father's death and hid his body in a freezer for more than a year while collecting his father's social security benefits was sentenced to seven years in prison.  

Edward Fitchett, 57, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of second-degree abuse of a corpse and first-degree theft. Additional theft charges were dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

The investigation began in January when family members contacted the Marion County Sheriff's Office to report 87-year-old Henry Conley Fitchett Jr. as a missing person.

Investigators learned Henry Fitchett had lived with his son in Aurora.

Deputies said Edward Fitchett told neighbors and his wife that his father went to live with a different son in eastern Oregon in December 2015.

Investigators later learned the Henry Fitchett had died and his son began collecting more than $2,000 a month in social security and PERS payments meant for his father.

Detectives spent two weeks drafting search warrants, interviewing witnesses and reviewing Henry Fitchett's financial records in their efforts to find him.

Edward Fitchett continued to deny knowledge of his father's location, according to deputies, and eventually changed his story to say that his father went to live with a "mystery girlfriend" in Estacada in August 2016.  

A search warrant was served on the Aurora home in February and deputies said Henry Fitchett's body was found in a vacuum-sealed bag in a chest freezer. The freezer was in a small, freestanding shed adjacent to the home.

An autopsy determined Henry Fitchett died on natural causes.

Edward Fitchett's brother confronted him in court Tuesday.

"He always prayed for us, you and me. Always. And you put him in a freezer. He didn't deserve that, Ed," said John Fitchett.

Along with seven years in prison, Edward Fitchett was ordered to pay $33,000 in restitution for the funds he obtained after his father's death.

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