Marinette County woman sentenced to probation for hiding mother’s corpse

Paula Bergold. Photo: Marinette County Jail
Paula Bergold. Photo: Marinette County Jail(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 10:30 AM EDT
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MARINETTE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Marinette County woman has been sentenced to probation for hiding her mother’s corpse to continue collecting social security payments.

Paula Ann Bergold, 61, appeared before a Marinette County judge Monday for a sentencing hearing.

She was convicted of a felony charge of Hiding a Corpse. As part of a plea agreement, charges of Failing to Report a Death and Resisting or Obstructing an Officer were dismissed.

The judge ordered a sentence of three years in state prison and three years on extended supervision. However, those sentences were stayed--meaning she would not have to serve time behind bars unless she violates terms of probation.

Bergold was also sentenced to 13 days of jail but was given credit for time served.

The probation sentence is seven years. She was ordered to continue with mental health counseling and to take all prescribed medication. She cannot drink alcohol unless given permission through the Department of Corrections.

Fines and costs will be paid from bond.

On Sept. 18, 2019, Marinette County deputies were called to State Highway 64 in the Town of Peshtigo to perform a welfare check on Bergold’s 89-year-old mother, Ruby.

Paula Bergold told officers that Ruby’s body was in a tub in the basement, according to a criminal complaint.

Paula said that she didn’t kill her mother. She said she had found Ruby dead in a chair upstairs. Paula said she wanted to call police but she “couldn’t bring herself to do it.”

Ruby Bergold’s body was removed from the home and transported to Fond du Lac for an autopsy. Investigators identified the body through the serial number on Ruby’s pacemaker.

Paula told investigators that she had been living off of her mother’s income--social security, stocks, and dividends from her father’s retirement.

“Paula said that she was concerned about the money, and that played into her decision to not report her mother’s death,” reads the complaint.

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