A Minnesota woman's boyfriend has been charged in her death nearly five months after her body was discovered encased in ice by a fisherman.
Uriah D. Schulz, 40, was charged Monday with unintentional second-degree murder over the death of his girlfriend, Elizabeth V. Perrault, 41, who disappeared in November of last year, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Her frozen body was found April 22 in a holding pond south of the Minnesota River. She was wearing a bathrobe and had been wrapped in a blanket later determined to be from her apartment. An autopsy revealed she had suffered blows to the right side of her face which caused broken bones around her eye and cheek, the paper reports.
Schulz reportedly told police that Perrault, who family members say struggled with an alcohol addiction, left in November to seek help at a treatment center, according to KARE 11.
He claimed he had not been to the apartment the two had shared together since then. However, the Dakota County's Attorney's office said a later investigation showed his phone had connected to the WiFi there in November and December.
Police believe Schulz also used Perrault's debit card 20 times after she was last seen alive, adding that on some occasions he used the card with his own SuperAmerica rewards card, the Star-Tribune reports.
Her mother had requested a welfare check on her daughter in December. When police arrived, they found a nearly empty apartment, Sun This Week reports.
Two friends reported her missing in February, sparking an investigation into her whereabouts.
Police were able to connect the crime to Schulz after they found a dark bloodstain in the apartment's master bedroom that had seeped from the carpet into the subflooring. The victim's blood was also allegedly found in the car Schultz had been driving, police said.
“Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Elizabeth,” Burnsville Police Chief Eric Gieseke said following the arrest, according to Sun This Week. “Every loss of life is a terrible tragedy, and we are hopeful that this arrest may help them in the difficult healing process.”
Schar Ward, Perrault's aunt, told the Star Tribune her niece was a "very troubled soul" who battled alcoholism throughout her life.
Schulz appeared in Dakota County Court on Tuesday, and his bail was set at $750,000 with conditions and $1 million without, according to local ABC affiliate KSTP-TV. He is scheduled to appear in court again on October 18.
[Photo: Dakota County Jail]