Terrell York pleaded guilty in October to hiding the death of his wife, Patricia M. York
A Michigan man has been jailed for storing his dead wife in a freezer for around a year.
On Tuesday, Isabella County Circuit Judge Mark H. Duthie handed down a prison sentence of up to eight years to Terrell York, who pleaded guilty in October to hiding the death of his wife, Patricia M. York, 67, MLive.com reported.
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“The facts of this case are horrible,” Duthie said during the sentencing, per the news outlet. “When a person passes … there should be closure for the family, for the friends. A person’s body after death should be treated with dignity. It should be treated with respect. It shouldn’t be stuffed in a freezer like a piece of meat. Your conduct is outrageous.”
As the Associated Press reported, local authorities in April found Patricia’s body stored in a chest freezer at a home that she shared with York. Deputies searched the home after they were notified by Patricia’s daughter, who said that she hadn’t been in contact with her mother in two years.
Per an affidavit written by deputies and obtained by MLive.com, York told authorities that his wife moved out and lived with family members in Newaygo, Michigan but did not explain further. As he had an outstanding warrant for an offense of driving while under the influence from 2021, however, deputies were able to arrest him and question him further, reported Law & Crime.
“His answers were erratic and he was looking all around the room throughout the interview,” deputies recalled, per the affidavit, as York was interviewed in jail. “He said she did not want her family to know where she was living.”
York later told authorities that his wife died of natural causes in September 2022. However, York did not notify anyone and put his wife’s body in the freezer, CBS Detroit reported.
Isabella County Prosecutor David Barberi alleged that York didn’t report Patricia’s death because he wanted to collect her Social Security payments, AP reported. According to the affidavit, deputies wrote that the payments were spent on food and bills.
Barberi also said that investigators could not find a cause of Patricia's death, per MLive.com
Amy Chamberlain, York’s lawyer, said that the couple had medical issues and York lost his job as a result.
Michelle McGraw, Patricia’s daughter, gave a statement via Zoom in court. “I’m angry my mom would be thought of as ‘the person in the freezer’ instead of a person who was loved and loved her family,” McGraw said, per MLive.com. “She was a sister, an aunt, a mom, and a grandma.”
York declined to comment at his sentencing after being given an opportunity from the judge. He has not been accused of killing his wife.
PEOPLE reached out to the Isabella County Prosecutor’s Office and York’s attorney for comment on the sentencing.
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