Utah man found dead in a freezer exonerated his wife in a note

The wife of a Utah man found in a freezer didn’t kill him, according to a note he left behind. On the contrary, he said the woman had tried to keep him alive.

Tooele police have closed the case of Paul Edwards Mathers, whose body was found Nov. 22 inside a freezer in his wife’s apartment. Jeanne Souron-Mathers, 75, was found dead at the Remington Park Apartments at 495 W. Utah Ave. after a maintenance worker reported he had not heard from her for some time.

The state medical examiner ruled that Souron-Mathers died of natural causes.

According to a news release from police, when they entered her apartment they found a “notarized, typed letter in the entranceway." The letter explained that he had cancer, and knew a combination of medication would stop his heart. He wanted to make it known that his wife was not responsible for his death.

According to Tooele Sgt. Jeremy Hansen, detectives “narrowed down the timeline” for Mathers’ death to between March 2 and March 5, 2009. Mathers would have been 69 years old on those dates.

In a news release, the sergeant wrote that Mathers’ sister last spoke to him on March 2, and that when she went to his home on March 5 she was told by Souron-Mathers that he had moved to California.

In response to a subpoena from police, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that between March 2009 and the day Mathers’ body was found, he was paid $177,325 in benefits.

The medical examiner reported that Mathers died of “undetermined causes,” adding that he had “end of stage bladder cancer, for which he had only weeks to months to live in early 2009.” And he had “highly lethal levels” of several prescription narcotics.

Mathers’ body was found wrapped in a garbage bags; one was “tightly duct taped around his neck.” The medical examiner concluded that it “is unclear whether this was secured before or after death,” and that asphyxiation “cannot be ruled out” as the cause of death.

The Utah State Crime Lab found “no latent [finger]prints of comparable value” on the bags.

Editor’s note: If you or people you know are at risk of self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24-hour support at 1-800-273-8255.