A New York man is accused of strangling his mother in the motel where they lived, keeping her body there for nearly two months and then dumping it in South Carolina, police said Saturday.
Charles R. Cole was arrested Friday in the death of 76-year-old Betty Cole.
Police started their investigation on Oct. 6 after receiving a tip from family members who said they couldn’t reach her. Detectives allege Charles Cole strangled his mother on Aug. 16, at the Pleasant Valley Motel, where they were living along with his wife, Ronalda Cole, and kept the body there for approximately seven weeks.
Cole allegedly stuffed his mother’s body into a plastic bin, put the bin in his car and took it with him to Lodge, South Carolina from the motel in Pleasant Valley, New York, which is located 80 miles north of New York City. Cole then dumped the body in a secluded area, police said.
"I find it hard to imagine circumstances that could lead to a son strangling his mother, but to also live with her body in a motel room for seven weeks and to then travel several states away to dump her body like trash makes this a particularly disturbing and unusual case," state police Capt. John Ryan said.
Cole was arraigned on a murder charge and was jailed without bail. Cole’s wife was charged with tampering with evidence and was jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Betty Cole’s body was found on Oct. 17, police said. It’s unclear why the body was left in South Carolina.
Chandresh Patel, manager of the motel, told the Poughkeepsie Journal that Cole moved out hours before police made the welfare check on his mother.
He told the newspaper that workers routinely cleaned the air conditioning filters in each room and there were no indications a body was being housed there.
“We went in the room at least six or seven times while they were here to check the smoke detectors,” he said.
He said motel employees never saw Cole’s mother living with the couple.
The motel, where rooms start at $65 per night, is located on a rural thoroughfare 7 miles from the center of Poughkeepsie. Its website says its country surroundings "provide a beautiful change of pace should business or pleasure bring you to Dutchess County."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.