Man who lived with dead roommate for 4 years accused of stealing identity, police say

CHICO, Calif. — A California man allegedly lived with his roommate’s body since 2018 and has been charged with stealing the identity of the deceased Navy veteran.

Darren Wade Pirtle was charged in Butte County Superior Court on Monday for writing checks from the account of Kevin Olsen years after he died.

Pirtle, 57, allegedly deposited Olsen’s Navy retirement checks and then used funds from Olsen’s account to pay the mortgage on the home. Police said Pirtle wrote at least 50 checks from Olsen’s Navy Federal Credit Union to Pirtle’s account, SFGATE reported.

The body of Olsen, 64, was found on the floor in the bedroom home, according to KRCR. Police sought assistance from the Department of Justice, the county crime lab and anthropologists from a nearby university to help determine how long Olsen had been dead and the cause of death.

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According to The Associated Press, authorities launched a missing-person investigation in August and later searched the home after a relative told police he hadn’t seen or heard from Olson for about four years, the DA’s office said.

Friends and relatives told police that Pirtle “always gave various excuses as to Olson’s absences,” according to SFGATE. When police arrived at the home, Pirtle said that Olsen was out of town.

Olsen was last seen in October 2018, and the first instance of forged checks began in July 2019, AP reported.

Pirtle has been charged with identity theft and multiple counts of forgery. His bail has been set at $165,000, and he is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 29, according to KRCR.

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