Brevard County

Police: Brevard County man may have lived with mother’s dead body for weeks

COCOA, Fla. — Police say a Brevard County man may have been living in a home with his dead mother for weeks.

Robert Ruhlander is facing a neglect charge after his 80-year-old mother was found dead inside their shared Cocoa home on Otterbein Avenue near Clearlake Road.


The home was deemed unsanitary and unsafe for occupation until there’s running water.

Family members said they tried to get inside the home to check on Kathleen Ruhlander. So, did police. But they said Robert Ruhlander first told them his mother wasn’t there, and later police say they were told she was napping. Cocoa police say she was dead.

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On Sunday, police returned to the home and placed Robert Ruhlander under arrest on an unrelated warrant and did a sweep of the property. That’s when they found her body.

Robert Ruhlander was charged with neglect and failure to report a death. Police said additional charges are still possible.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.