Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

'Girlfriend-in-freezer' case shock

Frank Julian was 52 when Ms Wardwell disappeared aged 29 (AP)

An 80-year-old man nearly took a grim secret to his grave - discovered only after his family went through his belongings in a storage unit.

Inside an unplugged freezer, they found a set of human remains that investigators believe may be those of his girlfriend, who disappeared in 1983, when she was 29. Now investigators are trying to identify of the body, the cause of death and who may have been involved.

Maine State police were awaiting results of a post-mortem and DNA tests were under way to determine whether the body was that of Kitty Wardwell, who was last seen with boyfriend Frank Julian.

The gruesome discovery came as a shock to Lewiston residents including Jane Child, who knew Julian as a kind shop owner who would allow customers to store items when they were short on money. It was difficult to reconcile that image with a potential killer who stashed a body in a freezer, she said.

"It just gives me the creeps," Ms Child said while shopping at Blackie's Fruit Stand, near the store where Julian worked with one of his sons.

The storage unit was rented in 1992 by Julian, who died on October 1. Back in 1983, Julian occasionally lived with Ms Wardwell 100 miles away in Holden.

Julian told police in New Hampshire that he last saw Ms Wardwell after an argument that June, when he dropped her off at a motel in Salem, New Hampshire, before returning to Maine, police said. She was reported missing by a close friend the following month.

A state police investigation indicated she was probably a victim of foul play in Maine. Because of that, the investigation officially remained open.

The freezer was inside a 10x10ft storage unit at a Moore Self Storage Facility in Lewiston, where Julian dutifully paid in advance for the unit, coming around every three months to pay in person, owner Gary Boilard said.

Julian was 52 when Ms Wardwell disappeared. An obituary in the Bangor Daily News described him as a former restaurateur and novelty salesman.

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