California Man Patrick Lara Accused of Living With Uncle's Dead Body, Using His ATM Card

In a scene a little reminiscent of Weekend at Bernie's, a California man is accused of living with his dead uncle's body for nearly a month in order to use the victim's ATM card for cash and expenses.

Authorities in Merced County to the north say the alleged scheme unraveled over the weekend when relatives of 45-year-old Patrick Lara flagged down a sheriff's deputy to report a body in his trailer.

What authorities found disgusted them:

The remains of 63-year-old Adrian Lugo covered in mold and particles from a ceiling that had collapsed onto them.

Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin:

"What makes this even more despicable is a callous display of human behavior from the nephew, who was supposed to be the caregiver. I just find it abhorrent that the nephew was still in the same residence as his dead uncle. That's just absolutely bizarre -- it's unconscionable."

The suspect was living in the trailer and apparently turned on a swamp cooler in order to deal with the smell and decomposition.

Officials said Lara later reported that his uncle had broken his arm and fell ill Jan. 22 and never came to.

He claimed that he was going to save enough money to leave and then call authorities. Receipts indicated to authorities that Lara was using the dead man's bank account as his own, they said.

Lara was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, elder abuse and caretaker theft. He was being held in lieu of $175,000 bail.

[Modesto Bee].

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