UPDATED Friday, October 26, 2012 --- 7:10 a.m.
AMHERST, Wis. (AP) -- The lawyer for a Portage County man accused of helping to conceal his mother's death for decades and collecting her Social Security payments has entered not-guilty pleas on his client's behalf.
The public defender for 66-year-old Charles T. Jost entered the pleas Thursday to four felony charges. The charges include being party to the crimes of theft and mail fraud.
A message left for attorney Troy Nielsen was not immediately returned.
Jost, his sister and brother-in-law are accused of concealing the death of Marie Jost, who'd be 100 if she were still alive. Authorities say there's no indication she's been seen in 25 years, and they've been searching Jost's Amherst property after cadaver dogs hit upon the scent of human remains.
The other two defendants have also pleaded not guilty.
Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.
UPDATED: Saturday, September 29, 2012 --- 2:25p.m.
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) -- A Portage County couple has been ordered to stand trial in a Social Security fraud case.
Ronald Disher and his wife, Delores, are accused of cashing Social Security checks belonging to her mother, Marie Jost, whom authorities speculate died some 30 years ago.
During the hearing Friday, Assistant District Attorney Veronica Isherwood told the judge that Ronald Disher admitted to two other inmates that his wife killed Jost and, together, they buried her in Amherst Junction.
Defense attorney Steven Sawyer says the inmates' statements are not credible. Sawyer says Jost may have given the money to the Dishers.
Investigators have been unable to locate Jost or her son, Theodore. Homicide charges have not been filed.
A message left for Isherwood Saturday was not immediately returned.
Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.
UPDATED Tuesday, September 25, 2012 --- 11:18 a.m.
AMHERST, Wis. (AP) -- Three Portage County residents are accused of cashing the Social Security checks of a relative who's been missing for 30 years.
If Marie Jost were still alive she'd be 100 years old. But authorities now suspect she died about 30 years ago, and they accuse her son, daughter and son-in-law of continuing to cash her government checks.
Investigators say Jost might be buried on her Amherst property. Sheriff's Capt. Dale O'Kray says authorities are using heavy machinery to explore the property and see whether they can find her remains.
Charges including theft and mail fraud have been filed against 66-year-old Charles T. Jost, 69-year-old Delores M. Disher and 71-year-old Ronald Disher.
The attorney for Ronald Disher declined comment Tuesday. Messages left with the other two defense attorneys weren't immediately returned.
UPDATED: Thursday, September 6, 2012 --- 6:30 p.m.
Crews from the Madison Crime Lab are searching for human remains at the home of a woman missing for more than 30 years.
Authorities say Marie Jost was reported missing in 1982. Since then she has not used medical benefits, but her social security checks continue to be cashed.
Cadaver dogs are tracking the scent at Jost's home, now occupied by her son Charles, in Amherst. The Portage County Sheriff's Dept. tells NBC 15 the dogs identified areas of interest, but so far no remains have been recovered.
If alive, Marie is 100 years old. Authorities say they are investigating a variety of leads, but so far the most recently someone claimed to contact her was in 1988, and even that report is unconfirmed.
Authorities suspect Jost's family of fraudulently cashing up to $175,000 in benefit checks. Thursday two of her children and her son-in-law appeared in court, and each remain in jail on $20,000 bond.
Authorities are also searching for Jost's 74-year-old son Theodore, who they say also has not been seen since the 1980's. Anyone with information is asked to call the Portage County Sheriff's Dept. at (715) 346-1400.
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2012 --- 9:25 a.m.
From NBC15's sister station WSAW-TV in Wausau:
Three people are facing charges in what's suspected to be a decades long social security scam.
The Portage County Sheriff's Office says in August they were contacted by the United States Social Security Administration asking for assistance in locating Marie Jost after several pieces of mail went unanswered. Marie, who will turn 101 in October, had also not used medical benefits since 1980.
On August 30, Deputies went to Marie's home, located at 3658 Alm Road in the Town of Amherst and made contact with her son, Charles. He explained that Marie was alive and well and on a trip with Theodore, who is 74 and also hasn't been since since the 1980s.
Investigators also questioned Marie's daughter and son-in-law, Ronald and Delores Disher at their Almond home. During the interview, Ronald pulled out a sharpened metal file and threatened the officers at the scene. He was later taken into custody.
A second search warrant was obtained and Ronald, Delores, and Charles were all taken to the Portage County Jail on charges of forgery, as it appears that Marie’s Social Security checks had been fraudulently signed and cashed for several years.
All three suspects will have their initial appearances in Portage County Circuit Court on Thursday.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts or last know location of either Marie or Theodore Jost is urged to contact the Portage County Sheriff’s Office at (715) 346-1400.