Peter Wald died in March 2013, but his decaying dead body was kept by his family for much longer, under the hope that he would come back to life if they prayed hard enough.
The Canadian family managed to hide the body for six months before their secret was discovered by the sheriff who came to evict them for not paying the mortgage. The house in Hamilton, Ontario, was home to 50-year-old widow of Wald, Kalin Wald and five of their six children and other adults.
Wald had died of what authorities believe were natural causes following a foot infection linked to his diabetes, defence lawyer Peter Boushy told Reuters. Wald had left him in the bed, where he died and sealed up their bedroom so that the smell of his decaying body would not inconvenience other members of the family.
"Just as Jesus raised Lazarus after the fourth day, so too did she believe God would resurrect her husband in due time," said Boushy.
The man's corpse was discovered in September, when the local sheriff came by to evict the family, which had not paid the mortgage. His decomposing corpse had attracted rodents, but the family was prepared to take him and his belongings with them and made no attempt to conceal the body.
Wald has since pleaded guilty to failing to notify police that her husband had died, an offense under the provincial Coroner's Act, and was sentenced on Monday to probation and counselling, her lawyer said.
"There clearly was an over-exuberance of one's faith," Boushy said and guaranteed that his client now understands what the law required her and that she would never repeat it again.
The Children's Aid Society, which investigated the family after the discovery of the corpse, found no concerns and the case was closed.
The family was active in Christian street ministry and outreach in Hamilton near Toronto.
"She certainly was remorseful, and definitely was teary-eyed," Boushy said. She never really had a chance to mourn over her husband's death and the court proceedings seem to have broken an emotional barrier for her. "I think counselling is certainly going to be beneficial for her," Boushy added.