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Man accused of stealing more than $1.5 million worth of deceased Livingston woman's property

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Posted at 5:28 PM, May 10, 2023

The caretaker of a Livingston woman’s property is accused of stealing more than $1.5 million worth of items from the woman’s estate in the hours preceding her death on August 28, 2022.

John Charles Burdick is charged with one felony count of theft of property exceeding $5,000. Burdick has pleaded not guilty and is facing a jury trial scheduled to begin on July 11, 2023.

Court documents say an inventory of Patricia Grundhofer’s personal property conducted after her death revealed several items were missing, including a wedding ring valued at $1 million; a diamond necklace valued at $334,264; 60 gold coins valued at $99,171; a gold watch valued at $94,815; a diamond wedding band valued at $16,676; and a matched set of shotguns valued at $20,000.

On October 14, 2022, an attorney for Grundhofer’s estate provided a Park County detective with surveillance video that allegedly showed Burdick in Grundhofer’s bedroom as she lay unconscious the morning of her death, holding some of the missing items in his hands.

According to court documents, the video shows Burdick entering and leaving Grundhofer’s bedroom several times between 7:30 and 10:30 the morning of her death, at one point holding “what appears to be cash, a large jewelry container, and a necklace in his hand.”

Around 10:45 a.m., the video allegedly shows Burdick and his son checking Grundhofer’s condition before calling 911 to report her death.

Deputies with the Park County Sheriff’s Office reportedly executed a search of Burdick’s residence on November 1, 2022.

Court documents say Burdick’s son was at the residence and told deputies that on the morning of August 28, his father called and asked him to come to Grundhofer’s residence as Burdick suspected Grundhofer was dead. Burdick’s son told detectives he suggested to his father that they call 911, which they did.

Deputies located a safe at Burdick’s residence that allegedly contained several of the missing items. According to court documents, Burdick contacted the detective on November 2, 2022, saying Grundhofer told him he was to take what he wanted upon her death and he did not believe he had done anything wrong.

Burdick was advised there was a theft complaint from Grundhofer’s estate, as well as a warrant for his arrest. He was taken into custody and transported to the Park County Detention Center.

Witnesses including family friends and other employees at the property said in interviews with law enforcement that Grundhofer had given Burdick a four-wheeler and some cash but never heard her talk about giving him anything else.

Burdick remains free on an $8,500 bond ahead of his jury trial in July.