A man stored his girlfriend’s body in a freezer with the help of another woman -- who then assumed the dead woman’s life by moving into her home, using her credit cards and caring for her dog, an Ohio prosecutor said.
Youngstown City Prosecutor Dana Lantz said in court Monday that Arturo Novoa, 31, and Katrina Layton, 34, were arrested Sunday after Novoa allegedly asked a friend to keep a padlocked freezer. The friend became suspicious, discovered the woman's remains and called authorities.
Youngstown Police Lt. Doug Bobovnyik told WKBN the body was found in a freezer in Campbell. He said Youngstown police were investigating the case because they believe “it originated in the City of Youngstown and was taken to Campbell.”
Authorities have not yet identified the body, but suspect it's 28-year-old Shannon Graves, who was last seen in February.
Her sister, Debbie, told WKRN her sister dated Novoa and lived with him in the apartment on Youngstown’s west side.
Two week after Graves was last seen, Lantz said Layton moved in, drove Graves’ car, used her cell phone, and cared for her dog, WKRN reported.
“Basically, assumed her life and her belongings," Lantz said in court.
At the time of Novoa’s arrest, Lantz said he told detectives he knew nothing about a freezer, but authorities later found the freezer’s padlock key on his key ring.
Bobovnyik told WKRN that officials would "hopefully be able to determine the cause of death and a positive identification" sometime this week. Bobovnyik added that no one has been charged with murder, only abuse of a corpse, because there is still no cause of death.
Bond for both Novoa and Layton has been set at $1 million.
Graves was added to the Ohio Attorney General’s Missing Persons’ website earlier this month after friends expressed concerns about her well-being.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.