Man accused of living with dead mother, spending her money

Former mayoral candidate charged with concealing death

Ware County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Rodney Dillon
Ware County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Rodney Dillon

WAYCROSS, Ga. – A man who once ran for mayor of Waycross was arrested Monday after police found the body of his dead mother at their home.

Waycross police said Rodney Dillon, 53, had not reported her death and was continuing to spend money from her bank account. Dillon was taken into custody Monday and charged with concealing the death of another. He was being held in the Ware County jail.

Police said they received information that Dillon's 76-year-old mother, Iva Lee Aldridge, was missing. Detectives said Dillon told them that his mother had been in a care facility in Florida and he was living in her home.

“Her money was being spent here,” Lt. Benji Hersey told the Waycross Journal-Herald. “A search warrant was secured for the Carrie Drive address, and police found the woman dead in her home, along with him."

Police did not confirm how long Dillon’s mother had been dead. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was to conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

A resident of the area told News4Jax the woman used to walk the neighborhood and was nice, but her health had declined. She hadn't seen Aldridge since June 2015 and thought her son had taken her in a nursing home after she began suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

“Her health went down, and she began to have a problem with her mind. She could not remember things, even though she did remember faces,” said the neighbor, who asked not to be identified. “We thought she was in a treatment center, and it looked as though she was not and had not been. She had been down there for awhile anyway, but she was not alive.”

She said she saw Dillon in the fall and asked about his mother.

“We talked to him just a few minutes, and we were asking about her and how was she doing and he said, 'Well, she’s doing OK, but she’s heavily medicated,'” the woman said.

With no signs of activity for months, the neighbor said she began to get suspicious.

“We were walking one morning, and there was just a terrible scent coming from that direction and, of course, our first thoughts were has she passed away inside, and nobody knew it?” the woman said.

She said police checked around the house and told her it was a dead animal, and they didn’t suspect anything else was going on.

But the investigation into Aldridge’s disappearance finally became clear on Monday.

The neighbor said she asked police after Dillon was taken away in handcuffs if they'd found Aldridge.

“He shook his head yes. I said, 'Is she OK?' And he shook his head no, and I could just see the look on his face that something was not right,” the woman said. “That’s what shocked me, when we found out that was not true, that he had been down there for several months, and we didn’t know it.”

Dillon made an unsuccessful run for mayor of Waycross in 2003.