Washington Investigators Locate Deceased Man’s Body during Social Security Fraud Investigation

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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Article from the Gazette-Tribune here

The investigation of a possible Social Security fraud by an Oroville area man led to the discovery of his father’s dead body buried 16 miles northeast of Ellisforde.

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by an agent from the Special Agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General and a detective of the Washington State Patrol Cooperative Disability Investigation Unit (CDIU), according to Sheriff Frank Rogers.

“Their units investigate fraud cases, including social security frauds. During one of their investigations they had received information that a subject living in Okanogan County had been taking his father’s Social Security funds, after the father had killed himself and the son had buried him on their property,” Sheriff Rogers wrote in a press release on Monday.

Interviews were conducted on family and friends to try and determine what was going on. The investigation showed that Bruce Thompson had been receiving social security funds but had made no more withdrawals from his account since 2010. The investigation also showed that there had been no activity at all involving the elder Thompson since 2010.

The next day detectives contacted Kenneth C. Thompson, 52 of Oroville, the son of Bruce E. Thompson, who was born in 1943. When the son was interviewed he was very open with the detectives, according to Rogers.

“Kenneth Thompson said that several years ago his father had cancer and was dyeing from it. Kenneth Thompson told Detectives that his father refused to go to the doctors and told him that he was going to kill himself. Kenneth Thompson said that his father owed him money and they had decided that after he was dead, Kenneth Thompson would keep drawing money from Bruce Thompson’s account for about a year to pay back the money he was owed,” the sheriff writes.

The son admitted that in November 2009 he had helped his father finish digging a hole on their property located at 47 Emily Road, Oroville. He said that sometime just prior to Thanksgiving in 2009 he came home and his father was not there. He went out to the burial site and found his father lying in the hole dead, according to Rogers.

“Kenneth Thompson said that his father had shot himself with a shotgun,” continues Rogers. “…Thompson said he removed the shotgun from the hole and then buried his father. (He) also said that he did use his father’s debit card to withdraw money for about eight months until the card expired.”

Search warrants were obtained for the elder Thompson’s bank accounts in Nevada and a search warrant was also obtained for the property on Emily Road. After the interview, Kenneth Thompson took Detectives to the property located at 47 Emily Road, which is approximately 15 miles northeast of Ellisforde, to show them where his father was buried.

On Friday, Feb. 7 detectives, members of the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab and volunteers began digging at the site for the body of Bruce Thompson. After three days of digging on Sunday, Feb. 9, at around 1:15 p.m., they unearthed the remains of Bruce Thompson. The body was removed from the site and an autopsy will be performed, said the sheriff.

“From what we found at the scene everything matches pretty much what Kenneth Thompson had told us. The weapon that was supposedly used was not found during the search warrants but was located late last night at another families residence in Idaho. The investigation at this time is ongoing,” said Rogers.