Widow who lived with corpse charged with fraud, failure to report dead body

INDIANAPOLIS - A Lafayette woman has been arrested in connection with the death of her husband, which went unreported for months.

Ila Solomon, 55, was taken into custody Thursday on charges of welfare fraud, theft, failure to report a dead body, failure to file a death certificate and unlawful disposition of a dead human body.

Of particular note, prosecutors allege that Solomon was illegally cashing her husband's social security and pension checks, even while he lay dead on the floor for months.

Solomon's husband -- Gerald Gavan, 88 -- was found dead May 3 in the living room of their home, nine months after he had died.

In an interview with RTV6 in August, Solomon said her husband wanted to be part of a ritual in India where vultures consume human bodies after death.

"I just think that somebody who did so much for the United States should have the death he wanted, that's all," Solomon said. "He just wanted to be eaten by the birds to be part of the cycle of life."

Watch | RTV6 exclusive interview with Ila Solomon in the video player above

"Plan number two would be for me to take him outside or him to die outside so that the birds could eat him here, but that didn't happen, instead he died right there," Solomon told reporter Drew Smith.

Solomon said Gavan died April 28th of this year from a stroke. The Tippecanoe County coroner disagreed, saying a forensic entomologist determined Gavan had been dead since at least July 2013 before officers discovered his body on his living room floor in May.

According to court documents, when police first came looking for Gavan on May 3, Solomon allegedly told them he was traveling with her sister and brother-in-law to the Kentucky Derby.

When police asked about Gavan's health, Solomon said she had suffered a stroke and was in an assisted living facility.

That's when police said they got suspicious and entered the house.

Inside, they found a tarp covered with bed covers and a powdery substance that appeared to be lime. Underneath was a body in an advanced stage of decay, eventually determined to be Gavan.

RTV6 obtained documents showing that Solomon had been married at least twice before her marriage to Gavan.

According to those documents, Solomon's second marriage, to Jerry Eaton, happened just nine days after she divorced her first husband, Wendell Solomon, in White County, Indiana, back in 1994.

Solomon said she returned some of Gavan's federal benefits.

RTV6 requested an interview with Solomon regarding the charges filed against her. She did not respond to that request.

The Tippecanoe County Coroner's Office still has not determined a cause of death for Gavan.


Previous stories:

Funeral held for man apparently dead for months

Widow speaks after husband found dead 9 months later

Police turn over case to prosecutor after death goes unreported for months in Lafayette

Police investigating death unreported for months


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