A New York man has been arrested and accused of strangling his own mother and keeping her body in a motel for seven weeks. Charles Cole, 48, of Pleasant Valley has been arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the death of his mother Betty, 76.

Cole's wife, Ronalda Cole, 40, is also facing felony charges of tampering with physical evidence. Authorities said that she had assisted her husband in transporting and disposing of Betty Cole's body. She was placed in Dutchess County Jail to await trial. Betty is understood to have been killed as far back as 16 August.

State police captain John Ryan said: "I find it hard to imagine the circumstances that would lead a son to strangle his mother, but also to live with the body in a motel room and then travel several states away and dump her like trash."

Charles is believed to have forced Betty's body into a plastic bin after strangling her and then placed the bin into his 2006 Ford Escape to drive to South Carolina. He left Betty's remains in a secluded area off of Interstate 95 in the town of Lodge. Her body was discovered on 17 October. Ronda was arrested the next day and her husband was discovered in Poughkeepsie five days later and charged with Betty's murder.

Charles Cole, his wife and his mother were all sharing the same room at the motel. On 6 October state police had been dispatched to check on the whereabouts and welfare of Betty Cole when family members were unable to make contact with her.

According to reports workers at the motel said they saw or smelled nothing out of the ordinary during the time the couple were thought to have been living with the body.