There is a truly bizarre cases at the intersection of religious beliefs and the criminal code in Canada. Peter Wald’s family truly believed he would rise from the dead. Kaling Wald, 50, has pleaded guilty to leaving her husband in their home for six months after his death because she and their family believed that he would be resurrected. They prayed over the corpse for months as it decayed until it was discovered. Notably, the husband died of an untreated illness because the family believed that he would also be healed by prayer.
The family was known in the neighborhood for their blue Astro van that was covered in messages of love for God. They had carved crosses into the headlights so they would project the religious symbol.
Wald pleaded guilty to failing to notify police or the coroner of the death under the Coroner’s Act. Notably, that charge replaced the two original charges of neglect of duty regarding a dead body and offering an indignity to a body. The charges were dropped because prosecutors found no ill will on the part of Wald whose faith had “tainted and warped her better judgment.”
Her husband appears to have gone into a coma and then she said she noticed stomach bloating and signs of rigor mortis on his forehead. Her response? She covered him with two blankets, sealed the door and vents with duct tape, and padlocked the bedroom. The whole family then prayed daily and awaited for his resurrection.
When police came to evict the family for defaulting on the mortgage on Sept. 17, 2013, they discovered the body.
Notably, during the eviction, the family packed the man’s clothing so he would have something to wear. The wife simply explained “That was how strong our faith was.” It is a remarkable level of faith where you believe a person will be resurrected from prayer without ever having seen it occur. However, Wald still believes in resurrection of ordinary people and says that, while they have not seen it, it was been “documented” around the world.
One of the most interesting facts in the case is that there were children in the home and the Children’s Aid Society was called in. However, it determined that there were no concerns for the well-being of the couple’s six children (ages 11 to 22) and the case was closed. No concerns? They left the young children in a home with a deteriorating corpses for six months and there are no concerns?
Wald’s sentence was promptly suspended and she was given just 18 months of probation.
Afterward, Wald insisted “we lived a normal life. We were clean people.” However, she insisted that “we won’t do that again . . . laws exist and we know that now.”
We previously discussed how acts heralded in the Bible are viewed as manifestly insane in actual cases. For a prior column, click here and here. For those who are mentally unbalanced, stories like that of Abraham can resonate in a dangerous way as shown in this case. The fact that such individuals may believe that they are acting under orders of God is obviously no defense and prosecutors often oppose its use as part of an insanity defense. However, I have previously written about how religion is often effective in lowering sentences or even avoiding prosecutions in some cases.
29 thoughts on “Canadian Woman Sentenced After Keeping Husband’s Body For Six Months While Family Prayed For His Resurrection”
Taking children away from parents, for whatever good reason, is terribly cruel to the children. No matter how many times you tell a child it isn’t their fault, the deeper the belief they are to blame. The fundamental belief in every word of the Bible is incomprehensible to me, but not to them. If the children are being supervised by older siblings and doing well in school, don’t rock the boat. Check in occasionally, meet with school, and as long as the children are doing OK leave them alone.
I was once removed from a movie theater, along with my Dad and older brother. We were seeing Abbot and Costello in something that was scary for me. So I crawled on my Daddy’s lap and hid my face. Some “do gooder” told the management and next the police. They didn’t believe me, my brother, or my father and took me away in the back of a police car with bars. I was probably five or six.
They put me in a room and told me nothing. I was terrified. I was there until they got my mother (who was out enjoying her day). When she walked in I was hysterical. They wouldn’t let me see my father and I went home with my mother and brother (they kept my brother away from me).
There was something I had done, but I didn’t know what. My mother told me it was a terrible mistake and none of us was to blame. How do you think I viewed policemen from then on? Afraid, for a long time. And have little respect for anyone “official” removing children from parents. I watched out for policemen when we were together.
My brother, seven years older, told me years later that the City gave a sizeable sum to keep it out of court? I’m not sure I’m completely over it,policemen make me nervous.
Nancy: Is this strange or what? Be prepared to tell three eye patch jokes on Friday. Hasta Luego, Bob
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Nick ..” no one is more Nanny than social workers..”. I disagree prosecutors are Nanny stater’s that depend on convictions to get noticed and promoted. We have seen examples of that over and over on John’s blog.
Golden Country – I think prosecutors use the ‘nanny state’ to get promoted, however, also think they would throw their sainted mother under the bus to get promoted.
It was too long ago in this country that families buried their dead on their own property. We need to get over ourselves and our condescending attitudes towards others that are different than the one we see in our mirror. Long gone is the general belief only when someone is harming someone else are they imprisoned.
Golden Country – I think we need to go back to burying people near the old manse. Controlling the burying of the dead is just part of the whole nanny state attitude of almost every industry.
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