Woman who kept corpse in house ruled competent

MAUSTON — A court case against a 35-year-old Necedah woman who officials say kept a decomposing body in the home she shared with two children will proceed after she was declared competent Monday in Juneau County Circuit Court.

Tammy Lewis is charged with being a party to the crimes of two counts of causing mental harm to a child, one count of hiding a corpse, two counts of theft and one count of obstructing an officer.

After declaring Lewis competent, Circuit Court Judge John Roemer changed the cash bond for Lewis to a $50,000 signature bond, according to online court documents. As conditions of the bond, she must have no contact with her co-defendant or members of his church and no unsupervised contact with the two children. The bond must be co-signed by her parents and she must live with them at their Montello residence.

According to the criminal complaint, on May 7, a Juneau County deputy went to the Necedah home Lewis shared with two children and Magdeline Alvina Middlesworth, 90, after the Sheriff’s Department was asked to do a welfare check on Middlesworth.

Lewis, at first, refused to allow the deputy into the home, then said she would have to call her superior, the complaint said. Once she called Alan Bushey, the leader of Order of the Divine Will Church in Necedah, Lewis allowed the deputy in. The deputy found Middlesworth’s body on the toilet in the bathroom.

The two children living in the residence, a then 12-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl, testified during a recent preliminary hearing for Bushey. The children both said they were told by Bushey that Middlesworth would come back to life, if they prayed hard enough. They were punished when Middlesworth didn’t come back to life.

After Middlesworth’s death — believed to be March 4 — Lewis continued to write checks from their joint account. Money in the account came from Social Security and annuity payments meant for Middlesworth.

Lewis is scheduled for a pretrial conference July 31.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Wausau Daily Herald, USA
June 17, 2008
Karen Madden

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This post was last updated: Jun. 17, 2008