Coroner: Mother, son believed to have died from 'natural causes'


by WHAS11

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 17 at 6:35 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A well-known government watchdog group chairman is mourning after his ex-wife and son were found dead inside a Highlands home.

"He said I'm sorry and I knew what that meant. I just dropped the phone. I just couldn't," Richard Beliles said.

Beliles was brought to tears as he talked about how the mother and son were found.

"Joe was on his computer, just sitting on his computer. When they found the doors locked and newspapers on the porch I said call the police and get in," Beliles said.

The Jefferson County Coroner's Office said 69-year-old Beatrice Burchel and her son, 43-year-old Joseph Beliles died of natural causes but oddly, days apart.

They tell us Joseph was dead for several days before his mother died. Joseph was found upstairs and his mother, downstairs. There was no smell of gas or environmental issues at the 1000 block of Baxter Avenue. Two pets were found alive inside the house.
"It's a horrible thing when someone dies, especially so close to a church," neighbor Justin Burch said.

Beliles said he was preparing to leave for a vacation in colonial Williamsburg, Va. with Joseph. The history buff was a UofL graduate who worked at the Outback Restaurant for 15 years. Beliles said Joseph recently moved-in with his mother because of a weak heart condition caused by childhood health problems.

Beliles said: "He had cancer when he was three and had radiation, and then again at 11 and had radiation. His heart was damaged and his lungs couldn't expand."

Beliles said he can barely breathe and is left heart-broken.