MALTA, N.Y. - A former Nassau County police officer killed his wife of 46 years in their upstate home and spent the weekend with her body before letting in a sheriff's deputy, Saratoga County authorities said.

Charles Wilkinson, 68,was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kathleen Wilkinson, 65, found on a bedroom floor in their home in upstate Malta, said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo. He was arraigned Sunday and held without bail.

He had killed his wife in a domestic dispute, Zurlo said, and continued living in the house.

The autopsy, done Monday, shows she was strangled, the sheriff's office said.

His wife's body was found after a son, who lives in the Boston area, told deputies that she had not been heard from for several days, authorities said.

A sheriff's deputy went to the couple's home Sunday, Zurlo said, and initially Wilkinson refused to let authorities in but did not say why.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

After several minutes, the deputy was able to get Wilkinson to change his mind, the sheriff said.

Zurlo confirmed that the felony complaint states Wilkinson killed his wife Friday night but he referred further questions to the county District Attorney James Murphy III. Murphy did not return a call Mondayafternoon.

Nassau police said Wilkinson had joined the force in 1972 and left in 1984. Other details were not immediately available, a spokeswoman said.

Zurlo said the former officer left the Nassau police force on a disability retirement. In Malta, Wilkinson worked as a security officer for GlobalFoundries computer chip manufacturing plant and was also a house painter.

The couple, who had two children, had been living in Malta for 10 years, Zurlo said. There were no prior domestic incidents, he said.