Maine authorities trying to identify body found in freezer

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 25, 2011 2:00 PM
Maine authorities trying to identify body found in freezer

(Reuters) - Maine investigators were working on Monday to determine if a body found in a storage unit freezer is that of a woman who went missing 28 years ago after a fight with her boyfriend, police said.

The storage unit was rented by Frank Julian, 80, who died earlier this month, and was believed to be the last person to see Kitty Wardwell, his girlfriend, alive in the summer of 1983, state police spokesman Stephen McCausland said.

Family members cleaning out Julian's storage unit in Lewiston found the body on Friday and notified police. The medical examiner's office began work on Monday to identify it, McCausland said.

In addition to performing an autopsy, officials may use DNA analysis to determine if the body is that of Wardwell, who was reported missing in July 1983 by a friend.

At the time, Julian said he had left the then 29-year-old woman at a New Hampshire motel after a fight and returned to Maine alone, according to a missing persons report on the state police website.

Wardwell's sister also reported her missing months later.

The investigation said she was likely a victim of foul play. Julian had been questioned over the years about the case, which remained open, McCausland said.

McCausland said police have been in touch with Wardwell's family. He did not expect autopsy or identification results to be returned on Monday.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper, editing by Ellen wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)