Man Who Kept Mom in Freezer Had History of Odd Behavior

As a teenager, Philip Schuth (search) was teased mercilessly by the other kids because his mother still walked him to school. As an adult, he lived with his mother, cut his backyard with a scythe, and once bought $150 worth of Spam in a single grocery store outing.

But the strangest thing of all would come to light over the weekend: Schuth had kept his mother's remains in a basement freezer for years while he went on collecting her Social Security checks.

Schuth told authorities that his mother died of natural causes in 2000 and that he feared police might charge him with murder, according to court documents. An autopsy is planned.

"Everybody thought he was nuts," said Gary Mitchell, 59, who lives next door.

Neighbors said Schuth had told them that his mother had gone to live in a nursing home about two years ago.

Investigators found the freezer — with a 200-to-300-pound block of ice inside it — at the end of an all-night standoff at Schuth's home.

The standoff began Friday when a 10-year-old boy told his father that Schuth had hit him and the family confronted Schuth at his home. Schuth pulled a gun and opened fire, according to authorities. The father was hit three times but was not seriously hurt.

District Attorney Scott Horne (search) said he plans to charge Schuth with attempted homicide and reckless endangerment for the shooting, as well as having improvised explosives and concealing a corpse.

Neither mother nor son ever really fit in, acquaintances said. Her husband had been stationed in England during World War II; she returned with him to Wisconsin.

In fifth or sixth grade, Schuth invited about eight kids to his birthday party, said Daniel Potaracke, 51, who grew up three blocks away. Only Potaracke showed up.

"I think that (the teasing) fed into her distrust of Americans," Potaracke said. "She wasn't all there. I'm sure that scarred him mentally for life."

Schuth was a college graduate but never found full-time work. He never had a driver's license or owned a car.

Once, Mitchell said, he gave Schuth a ride to a grocery store where Schuth bought $150 worth of Spam. The next day, he gave him a ride to a department store, where Schuth piled three shopping carts full of toilet paper.

Mitchell asked Schuth once why he wore knee-high rubber boots. Schuth replied that a group of kids had attacked him, and he started carrying a gun in his boots.