Letting go of a recently deceased loved one can be hard. Very hard. It can feel unreal when someone you held dear departs. Going through the stages of grief (denial, anger, etc.) can be incredibly difficult, but we manage to work our way through the sorrow.

Robert James Kuefler, a 60-year-old resident of White Bear Lake in Minnesota, handled his grief far differently than most of us would have. When his brother and mother died of natural causes back in 2015, he didn’t prepare for a funeral, he didn’t plan a burial, and he didn’t call for a medical examiner.

He did nothing

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On September 20, 2016, a concerned neighbor noticed that the Kuefler house at 4708 Sandra Lane had an overgrown lawn. Since they hadn’t seen much activity in the house, this neighbor called for a welfare check on the residence.

When police arrived on the property, they reportedly spotted something disturbing through a window. When it was clear that that something was a dead body, police forced an entry and discovered the nearly skeletal remains of Kuefler’s mother, Evelyn. Not long after, a second body was found in the basement. It was Kuefler’s twin brother, Richard. His body had been described as “mummified.”

“I am not some nutball,” Kuefler said in an interview. “I loved them.”

Kuefler stated, with an autopsy report to support, that both his brother and mother had died, respectively, in July and August of 2015 of natural causes. As to why the bodies remained in the residence, Kuefler said that he just couldn’t bring himself to bury them.

“I was traumatized. What would you do?” Kuefler asked, apparently forgetting how everybody else handles their dead.

In an attempt to keep their deaths a secret, Kuefler wrote to his family members in a Christmas card that both Richard and his mother were in poor health, couldn’t answer the phone, and didn’t want visitors. Whether or not these letters satisfied the Kuefler relatives is unknown.

Kuefler was released from jail shortly after. A little over a year later, this month, he was charged with interference with a dead body or scene of death. Kuefler moved his brother’s body at one point because it was “in the way.”

The current charge is considered a gross misdemeanor, emphasis on “gross.” In includes one year maximum and/or a $3000 fine. Police hope that these charges allow Kuefler to get counselling through the court system.