Family accused of stealing dead veteran's social security money while living in home with his body

Posted at 1:38 PM, Mar 22, 2017

A Tuscarawas County family is accused of stealing a dead veteran's social security benefits while living in the home where his body was decomposing. 

The Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant and began an investigation after learning the residents in the home were using the social security benefits from a deceased Vietnam War veteran, Robert Harris, who was 71.

The search warrant led authorities to the discovery of his badly decomposed body found inside the home in the village of Wainwright.

Investigators eventually learned Harris may have lived there for six years, but he had not been seen in a quite some time by family members.

The Social Security Administration revealed that the benefits were still being paid to the Harris. Residents of the home were seen on video at a local ATM machine withdrawing money from the veteran's account.

A search warrant was obtained to look for documents related to the social security fraud.

Authorities said the mostly skeletonized body found lying in the living room. The body, located just feet from where the residents slept, was uncovered, and decomposing out in the open. The condition of the body indicated that Harris had been dead for several months.

"The home was deplorable," said Lt. Jeff Moore. "This was not a normal home. Most people would not be able to understand or even comprehend the conditions of this home."

Brian Sorohan,49, was taken into custody along with Stacy Sorohan,45, and their 18-year-old daughter, Brianna Sorohan. The identification and social security benefits card were recovered from the mother's belongings, investigators said.

Both the mother and father are charged with gross abuse of a corpse, theft, and failure to report a death. They are currently being held in the Tuscarawas County Jail on $20,000 bonds. Brianna Sorohan is charged with gross abuse of a corpse and theft. She was later released.

Barb Polen has lived next door for three years, but never saw Harris.

"My husband is a veteran and that part is very upsetting, that he was a veteran. I was just glad that somebody noticed that he was living there and they actually did a check on him," Polen said.

The body was taken to the Stark County Coroner's Office for an autopsy. The Tuscarawas County Health Department was also called to the home because of the 'deplorable' and 'unlivable' conditions, which was condemned by the health department.