Body in Maine freezer raises suspicions about popular shopkeeper
Just in time for Halloween, the town of Lewiston, Maine, appears to have its own haunted house -- or at least a haunted storage unit. Police there are trying to determine whose remains were hidden in a freezer stashed in the storage unit of an 80-year-old man who died recently, taking the secret to his grave.
Compounding the mystery is the reputation that the deceased man, Frank Julian, had among neighbors, friends and customers who would visit his variety store -- that of a friendly and generous man.
"Frank was a nice guy," said Mark Ferguson, who would regularly buy items from Julian, the Sun Journal reported. "Nothing I knew about Frank made me think he was about to kill some girl and keep her in a storage unit for 20 years." Others described Julian as a kindly man who would let people put items on layaway if they needed money.
DNA is being tested to determine if the remains are those of Julian's ex-girlfriend, Kitty Wardwell, who vanished in 1983 when she was 29 years old and Julian was 52. He was with her the night she disappeared, authorities said, and told police at the time that the two had argued and that he had not seen Wardwell again after dropping her off at a motel.
She was reported missing by a friend weeks later.
Julian died Oct. 1, and relatives discovered the body in the freezer while going through his belongings. Gary Boilard, who owns the storage facility where Julian had rented his unit, told the Associated Press that the mystery in the freezer appeared to be the only thing of interest found in the space. But it was enough to leave townspeople stunned.
"How do you keep a secret that long?" Boilard said.
-- Tina Susman in New York
Photo: Frank Julian. Credit: Associated Press via Sun Journal