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3 accused of cashing Social Security checks of woman missing for 30 years

Portage County Sheriff's Office / AP

From left, Ronald Disher, Delores M. Disher and Charles T. Jost are accused of receiving $175,000 in Social Security benefits issued to Marie Jost, who was last seen alive 30 years ago.

Three family members have been charged with cashing the Social Security checks of a Wisconsin woman who has been missing for 30 years and who authorities suspect is dead.

Charges including theft and mail fraud have been filed against Charles T. Jost, 66, Delores M. Disher 69, and Ronald Disher, 71. They are the son, daughter and son-in-law, respectively, of Marie Jost, who would be 100 if she were alive today. The three made their initial appearances in Portage County Court in Wisconsin on Monday, WSAW-TV reported.

Marie Jost, from the Amhert Junction area in Portage County, was last seen about 30 years ago, and investigators say her body might be buried on her Amherst property.

On Monday, police brought in an excavator to dig deeper on the property but did not immediately find any remains.

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The sheriff’s office began an investigation after receiving a call from a Social Security Administration official on Aug. 30 saying that benefit checks mailed to Marie Jost’s home were being cashed by an unknown person.

Investigators went to the home and were met by Charles Jost, who said his mother wasn’t home and was on a trip with her other son, Theodore, who also hasn’t been seen since the 1980s, according to court records.

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A neighbor told an investigating deputy that he had lived in the neighborhood for the past 20 years and had never seen Marie Jost at the home in that time.

According to prosecutors, the three accused relatives had received $175,000 in Social Security benefits issued to Marie Jost, the mother of Charles and Dolores. Investigators said they found $9,000 in a fanny-pack in Marie Jost’s home and another $8,000 in a search of Disher’s home, according to WSAW.

NBC News' James Eng and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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