Nadine Kirk's body may never be found
A Klamath County man will go to prison for covering up his 103-year-old mother’s death so he could keep collecting her Social Security benefits, but the years-long federal investigation will end with one unanswered question: Where is Georgia “Nadine” Kirk?
Theodore Martin Kirk, 64, of Bonanza, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Medford to 18 months in prison for stealing more than $30,000 worth of Social Security benefits in the name of his mother, who is presumed dead, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the U.S. Attorneys Office.
A jury found Kirk guilty of theft of government funds in March, and Kirk was slated to be sentenced on the conviction Sept. 6. Federal prosecutors say U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane delayed sentencing a week so Kirk could provide investigators the location of his mother’s remains, but Kirk didn’t provide the location by the judge’s deadline.
McShane separately ordered Kirk to repay $30,868 for collecting his mother’s benefits from September 2013 through September 2015.
Investigators found reason to believe Nadine Kirk died years earlier than 2013 — possibly in July 2010 based on entries in calendars seized from the home during the investigation, according to documents filed late last month by prosecutors Adam Delph and Gavin Bruce from the U.S. Attorneys Office.
The last check written by Nadine Kirk in the joint checking account she shared with her son, where her Social Security was direct-deposited every month, was in January 2010.
The Social Security Administration stopped its direct-deposit payments in August 2015, after the agency got a tip from a concerned citizen who hadn’t heard from Nadine Kirk in years. Kirk insisted that his mother traveled to California to visit her friend Elsa Nieman the month prior, but federal prosecutors proved at trial that her friend had passed away two years prior to the alleged visit and had spent several years prior in a memory care facility.
According to an Inspector General’s report filed in Kirk’s case, there’s evidence Nadine Kirk was buried somewhere on the Bonanza property he shared with his mother in the 5100 block of Swan Drive. Neighbors testified during the trial that Kirk held a yard sale sometime between 2013 and 2015 in which he sold items related to his mother such as a motorized scooter, walker and portable commode, and that they saw a wheelchair sitting next to a pile of lime on the east side of Kirk’s property.
Jackson County Search and Rescue cadaver dogs pointed to a similar area in August 2018, but searchers came up empty when they dug in the area.
“Even today, no one knows what happened to Ms. Kirk’s body,” U.S. Attorneys said in a document filed late last month.