Police: Man left mother, brother dead in their home for a year

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn.-Two people found inside a White Bear Lake home had been dead for more than a year before officers discovered them Tuesday, police say.Officers responded to a house in the 4700 block of Sandra Lane just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesd...
Robert James Kuefler, 59, was arrested Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 at a White Bear Lake residence on suspicion of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He has not been charged. Kuefler was questioned and arrested after police found two people dead inside the home during a welfare check. Photo courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
Robert James Kuefler, 59, was arrested Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 at a White Bear Lake residence on suspicion of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He has not been charged. Kuefler was questioned and arrested after police found two people dead inside the home during a welfare check. Photo courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn.-Two people found inside a White Bear Lake home had been dead for more than a year before officers discovered them Tuesday, police say.

Officers responded to a house in the 4700 block of Sandra Lane just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday after a woman called to report that her neighbor's yard had become overgrown and that she hadn't seen any activity at the home in some time, according to information provided by Dale Hager, administrative captain of the White Bear Lake Police Department.

When officers arrived at the residence, they could see a person who appeared dead inside a main-floor window. They discovered a second adult dead on the lower level, police reported.

A third person found inside, Robert Kuefler, was arrested on suspicion of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and booked into the Ramsey County Jail.

He has not been charged and has no criminal history.

Kuefler, 59, lived in the house with his twin brother, Richard Kuefler, and his elderly mother, Evelyn Kuefler, Hager said.

Robert Kuefler told police that the dead bodies were his mother and brother and that both had died on separate occasions over the past year. He didn't report their deaths to anyone because it was "too difficult," Hager said.

"I think he was just filled with anxiety and fear and he stated it was just too difficult for him to go through the process of burying his mother and brother," Hager said.

He was arrested on suspicion of financial exploitation because he was in a position to collect on payments still being sent to the house for his brother and mother, Hager added.

Due to the condition of the bodies, it could be several weeks before the Ramsey County medical examiner's office is able to confirm their identities. The office reported that it appeared the two died of natural causes, though no cause of death could be determined.

The two sons reportedly moved into the house after their father, Fenwick Kuefler, died in 2011, neighbors reported.

Fenwick Kuefler was a longtime employee at KSTP-TV.

"They were your typical farm family in a big city," neighbor Doug Anderson said of the Kueflers. "Very quiet, very polite, never said a bad word against anybody. ... You couldn't ask for better neighbors."

Anderson said it had been weeks since he or his wife, Kay, had seen any activity at the house.

They watched the Kueflers' grass grow longer and wondered why nobody was putting out the household's trash for its weekly collection. The house also looked dark and a truck parked outside hadn't moved in weeks.

Added up, it was enough to prompt Kay Anderson to call the police Tuesday to request a welfare check on the house.

Crime tape surrounded the home Tuesday, taking residents in the quiet suburban neighborhood by surprise, Doug Anderson said.

He said Richard Kuefler appeared to be the caretaker of his 93-year-old mother and ailing brother, Robert Kuefler.

Hager said he suspects neighbors are confused and mistook Robert Kuefler for Richard Kuefler.

Robert Kuefler told police he had been the caretaker of his mother and brother, who had been ill.

Doug Anderson described Evelyn Kuefler as the "quietest, sweetest woman."

Another neighbor, Rosella Langer, said she also knew the Kueflers.

"It was a very good family, that's all I can say," Langer said.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension assisted in the investigation.