Man lived with dead roommate's body for four years, cashing his checks

Dark staircase to an open door.
Dark staircase to an open door. Photo credit Getty Images

A California man allegedly lived with the body of his dead roommate for four years, forging checks to himself on the dead man’s account, according to officials.

The Butte County district attorney’s office shared that Darren Wade Pirtle, 57, allegedly forged 50 checks to himself from the account of his deceased roommate since 2019, according to a news release from Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

Relatives of Pirtle’s roommate, Kevin Olson, had reportedly been trying to contact him since 2018, but they said that they only ever spoke to Pirtle, according to the release. When speaking with Pirtle, he would give “various excuses as to Olson’s absences.”

After not hearing from Olson for nearly four years, his relatives reported him missing in August. Even though they had not heard from him, his bank account remained active, and his mortgage was paid, but prosecutors discovered that it was due to Pirtle.

While investigating, officers with the Chico Police Department contacted Pirtle, but he had told police that Olson was out of town.

Police served a search warrant at the home the two men shared last week, where they found Olson’s body in the back bedroom of the house.

According to the release, officials believe Olson died in 2018, but an autopsy is currently underway.

Pirtle has been charged with one count of identity theft and 10 counts of check forgery. He made his first court appearance this week and is expected to return to court Thursday. He is also being held on $165,000 bail.

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