UTAH

Police: note left with body in Tooele freezer said wife is not to blame

Feb 19, 2020, 7:26 PM
freezer body tooele...
(Apartment complex where the body of Paul Mathers was found. Credit: KSL TV)
(Apartment complex where the body of Paul Mathers was found. Credit: KSL TV)

TOOELE — Police are giving their last update to the case of a man whose body was stored in a freezer for over 10 years after he died.  They say there are some questions that will never be answered.

Investigators narrowed down the timeline for Paul Mathers’ death to a span of three days.  They believe it happened between March 2 and March 5, 2009.  The Tooele City Police Department issued a statement saying Mathers’ sister went to his home on the 5th, only to be told by his wife, Jeanne Souron-Mathers, that he moved to California.

However, the Medical Examiner’s Office is not able to pinpoint the exact cause of death.  Sergeant Jeremy Hansen says it could be one of three things.

“Either the bladder cancer, the toxicology or asphyxia from the bag being wrapped around his head with it duct taped around his neck,” Hansen said.

Mathers was reportedly in the final stages of terminal bladder cancer and reportedly only had months, or even weeks to live.  Plus, the ME found “highly lethal levels” of prescription narcotics in Mathers’ blood.  Investigators also found a garbage bag over Mathers’ head.  Without being able to determine which of these things killed him, the ME reports the death was due to “undetermined causes.”

Hansen says there were also a lot of questions about how Mathers’ wife was able to move the body into the freezer, and if she had help doing it.  The crime lab looked over the garbage bags for clues.

“When the crime lab looked for latent prints, they didn’t find any latent prints of comparable value,” Hansen said.  “The only person that had those answers is Ms. Mathers and her death is the one that kicked off this entire thing.”

Why did she hide the body?  Hansen say they won’t ever know the final answer to that, either.  However, he says Souron-Mathers accepted over $177 thousand in VA benefits given to Mathers over the ten years between the death and when the body was found.  She was found dead in her apartment in November, and her death was determined to be from natural causes.

“That’s why we’re finishing our investigation and closing it out.  We don’t like doing that when it’s undetermined from the Medical Examiner, but we’ve tracked down every lead,” Hansen says.

Police are also releasing what was written on a notarized letter found taped inside the Tooele freezer near Mathers’ body.  It describes how Mathers had wanted to commit suicide because of the illness, and how there was friction between family members over Mathers being transgender.

(Copy of the letter found in the freezer. Credit: Tooele City Police Department)

It reads:

I, Paul E. Mathers, a.k.a. Paula, being of a relatively sound mind and cancer ridden body make the following statement: I am fully aware that with my heart conditio [sic] the Lortabs/Hydrocodine will eventually stop my heart. It will not be deliberate as I am not ready to leave my wife, Jeanne Marie. Jeanne has foiled my actual suicide attempts.

I want it known that Jeanne is in NO way responsible for my death. Although that will be what my drama queen mother will claim. My mother, Zada Lamb, can get on with her life with-out having to acknowledge that I her first born am a T.G.

– Paul E. Mathers, aka Paula E. Mathers.

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Police: note left with body in Tooele freezer said wife is not to blame