Daughter Arrested, Accused Of Leaving Dead Mother And Collecting Social Security Checks

Mary Kersting leaves court on March 5, 2015. (NEWS10 ABC)

GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The daughter of 93-year old Hope Ruller, who was found dead in her home in Gloversville, has been arrested in connection with case.

Mary Kersting, 60, plead not guilty to grand larceny in the third-degree, a felony, in Fulton County Court. She also pled not guilty to petit larceny, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or disabled person and unlawfully disposing of a dead body.

Police said Kersting, who lived upstairs from her mother, kept her isolated and did not allow her to see other family members or get medical care. They said she stole more than $13,000 in social security checks and $900 in pension benefits from her dead mother. She allegedly placed her dead mother in a bed and did not notify anyone as the body decomposed. Hope Ruller had been deceased for about 14 months before she was found.

Authorities said that family members went to Ruller’s home multiple times to check on her, but Kersting turned them away. Ruller suffered from multiple ailments, including dementia and a hearing impairment.

“They made several attempts to visit Mrs. Ruller and speak to her over the past year or so and were denied access by the defendant. Naturally they wish they had more answers as to how Hope Ruller died,” said Louise Sira, Fulton County District Attorney.

Mary Kersting (Photo: Fulton Co. Sheriff’s Office)
Mary Kersting (Photo: Fulton Co. Sheriff’s Office)

On December 29, 2014, the Gloversville Police Department received a request from her granddaughter to check the welfare of Ruller, at 50 James St. in Gloversville. Police discovered the badly decomposed body of Ruller. An investigation began immediately, and a search warrant was obtained and executed for that address.

An autopsy was performed at Albany Medical Center and the cause of death was inconclusive due to the extreme decomposition. However, the medical examiner did rule out blunt force trauma or a penetrating object. Police are still calling the death suspicious.

Mary Kersting leaves court on March 5, 2015. (NEWS10 ABC)
Mary Kersting leaves court on March 5, 2015. (NEWS10 ABC)

Hope Ruller’s son, Richard Ruller, who lives in Colorado, told NEWS10 in a previous interview he was relying on his sister, who lived above his mother on James Street in Gloversville, to check on her. He says he last heard that his mother was “okay” nearly nine months ago.

Now, Gloversville Police are trying to determine how this could have happened.

“She always tells me things are good as far as my mom. She’s okay,” said Ruller.

Richard Ruller says that back in May he got that good news from his sister that his mother was doing well. Ruller says he thought she was okay because of a gift he sent for Christmas.

“I sent them Christmas cards. One to her, one to my mom, and I sent my mom money and the check was cashed,” he said.

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