Authorities in Youngstown, Ohio, suspect that a man stored his girlfriend’s dead body in a freezer while another woman moved into her home, used her credit cards and even cared for her dog — “basically, assumed her life and her belongings,” prosecutors said.
Shannon Graves, 28, vanished in February. She was later added to the state attorney general’s list of missing adults.
Last weekend, a woman’s body was found in an upright freezer owned by her boyfriend, Arturo Novoa. While the remains have not yet officially been identified — or a cause of death released — both police and prosecutors believe they are that of Graves.
Additionally, Youngstown Prosecutor Dana Lantz says that Novoa was living in Graves’ apartment with another woman, Katrina Layton, after Graves disappeared.
“Basically, Miss Layton moved in with Mr. Novoa and started living life,” Lantz told reporters in a news conference. “She didn’t hold herself out to be Shannon, but she just lived her life: using her phone, caring for her dog.”
Lantz reportedly said Layton moved in with Novoa two weeks after Graves was last seen alive.
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According to police, the woman’s body was discovered when Novoa allegedly told a friend that his power was off and asked if he could store the freezer at the friend’s home. When the friend and his wife opened the freezer, police say they found a corpse inside.
They then alerted authorities.
Youngstown Police Lt. Doug Bobovnik told local TV station WKBN that both Novoa and Layton have been charged with abuse of a corpse after their arrests on Sunday. Novoa has also reportedly been charged with obstruction of justice. Additional charges could be filed.
“No one was charged with a murder because we have no idea what the cause of death was,” Bobovnik said, “and also, we’d have to have an ID on the victim.”
Novoa and Graves are being held on $1 million bail each. They have not yet entered a plea, and it is unclear if either of them has retained an attorney.
from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/crime/ohio-man-put-girlfriend-body-freezer/