CHICO, Calif. (TCD) -- A 57-year-old man is accused of living with his dead roommate’s body for several years and spending money from the roommate’s bank accounts.
Darren Wade Pirtle was charged Sept. 26 in Butte County Superior Court with one count of identity theft and 10 counts of forgery.
According to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office, one of Kevin Olson’s family members reported him missing to Chico Police in August because he had not spoken to Olson in about four years. The family member and another relative reportedly said they tried reaching out to Olson and spoke with his roommate, Pirtle. Pirtle allegedly "always gave various excuses" as to why Olson was not available.
Chico Police reportedly went to Pirtle and Olson’s residence on Burnap Avenue, but Pirtle told the officer Olson was "out of town." As police investigated, they learned Olson was last seen in October 2018.
The District Attorney’s statement says investigators learned Olson was a retired member of the U.S. Navy and had some bank accounts at Navy Federal Credit Union. Detectives obtained warrants to look through the accounts and saw that Olson continued to pay the mortgage on his Burnap Avenue home, and his retirement checks were deposited regularly.
Since July 2019, Olson’s account showed there had been about 50 checks written out to Pirtle, and handwriting analysis showed the signatures on the checks were not actually written by Olson.
Chico Police served a search warrant at the Burnap Avenue home and discovered Olson’s body "on the floor of what had been his back bedroom."
His cause of death is pending, but the District Attorney’s Office says investigators believe Olson died in late 2018.