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Woman Who Kept Father's Body in Lexington, KY, Self-Storage Unit Gets 10 Years for Stealing Benefits


Update 10/22/14 – Judith Broughton, who prosecutors believe rented a Lexington, Ky., self-storage unit to conceal the death of her father and store his body, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing his Social Security benefits. Broughton must also repay $245,000 in benefits stolen after her father’s death in 1990, according to the source.

Broughton was sentenced in Pecos, Texas. She pleaded guilty in July to willfully and knowingly stealing Social Security benefits. She had been held without bail at the West Texas Detention Facility in Sierra Blanca, Texas.

The mummified remains of her father, Luther Broughton, were discovered in January. From 1997 to 2006, Luther Broughton's Social Security checks were mailed to a post office box owned by his daughter. Court documents say his benefits were later deposited directly into a bank account to which Judith Broughton had access.

Authorities are still trying to locate the offender’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Broughton, who has been missing since March. Mary Broughton also had benefit checks deposited directly into an account to which her daughter had access, the source reported. Those benefits have been suspended, prosecutors said.

4/23/14 – The mummified remains found inside a unit at Econo-Self Storage in Lexington, Ky., in January have been identified as Luther Broughton. In addition, the man’s daughter, Judith Maria Broughton, has been indicted in Texas for stealing his Social Security benefits.

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn has not provided a cause of death and did not speculate on how long Broughton’s body had been in storage, but he told the source the unit was probably rented specifically for that purpose.

U.S. Marshals arrested Judith Broughton, 49, on April 10 near Terlingua, Texas. She has been indicted on a federal felony charge of theft of public money, property or receipts, and is being held without bail at the West Texas Detention Facility in Sierra Blanca. She is accused of stealing more than $150,000 of her father’s Social Security retirement benefits between Nov. 10, 1997 and Aug. 31, 2011. She has pleaded not guilty.

Judith Broughton rented the storage unit in 1990 under her own and her father’s name and stayed current on its payments, according to testimony given by Social Security agent Bianca Mendez. Econo-Self Storage owner Bob Sigler told investigators that when Broughton signed the rental agreement, she asked never to be contacted by the storage business, according to court documents.

From 1997 to 2006, Luther Broughton's Social Security checks were mailed to a post office box owned by Judith Broughton. After that, court documents say his benefits were deposited directly into an account at Fort Davis State Bank in Texas. Although the account was in Luther Broughton's name, his daughter had access to it, according to the source.

Court documents indicate Judith Broughton earns $270 a month working for the National Psychic Network. A federal judge has ordered her to provide handwriting samples to see if she forged her father’s signature on endorsed Social Security checks sent to her address.

Investigators also believe Judith Broughton’s mother has been missing since early March and are conducting a search for her whereabouts.

1/13/14 – The human remains found inside a unit at Econo-Self Storage in Lexington, Ky., last week belong to an elderly white male, but the cause of the man’s death and his identity are still unknown, authorities said. County officials believe they know who the man is but will use dental records and other information to make a confirmation, according to the source.

The man had been dead “for an extended period of time,” according to Lexington police spokesperson Sherelle Roberts.

Earlier reports said the man’s body was found by investigators from the Social Security Administration (SSA), but new reports say the remains were discovered by local detectives acting on a tip from the SSA.

1/10/14 – A human body was discovered by federal investigators this week inside a unit at Econo-Self Storage in Lexington, Ky. Officials from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) were at the facility on Wednesday investigating a reported financial crime when they discovered the remains and alerted local police.

An autopsy conducted yesterday revealed the person was an adult, white male, but no cause of death or identity have been determined, according to Gary Ginn, the Fayette County coroner. The coroner’s office indicated dental records would be used to try to identify the man.

“Obviously we are aware that someone has concealed another person’s death because we believe that these are humans remains that were found in a storage unit,” Ginn said prior to performing the autopsy.

Police said they planned to interview the person who rented the storage unit, but so far no arrests have been made.

It is unclear what financial-crime allegations agents were looking into at the self-storage facility. The SSA’s Office of Investigations conducts investigative activity related to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in SSA programs and operations including wrongdoing by individuals perpetrating criminal activity against the administration, according to the SSA website. The office also investigates allegations of employee misconduct in the performance of their official duties.


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