Social media has been flooded with tributes to Shannon Graves Source:Facebook
Social media has been flooded with tributes to Shannon Graves Source:Facebook

Missing girlfriend's body hidden in couple's freezer

WHEN Arturo Novoa asked if he could store an icebox in his landlord's basement, Kenny Eshenbaugh was happy to oblige.

It seemed like a reasonable request given Novoa's explanation that his electricity had been cut off and he didn't want "his freezer full of meat to spoil".

Mr Eshenbaugh's wife immediately developed suspicions about what exactly was inside and why it was sealed with a giant padlock.

By the fifth day the couple could no longer contain their curiosity and forced the freezer open.

What they found is the stuff of nightmares: the dismembered remains of a human body, packed into several plastic bags.
 

Arturo Novoa, 31, and Katrina Layton, 34, have been charged with corpse abuse after the remains of Novoa’s missing former girlfriend, Shannon Graves, were found in a freezer.Source:Supplied
Arturo Novoa, 31, and Katrina Layton, 34, have been charged with corpse abuse after the remains of Novoa’s missing former girlfriend, Shannon Graves, were found in a freezer.Source:Supplied


Novoa, 31, and his live in girlfriend Katrina Layton, 34, were arrested in their home in the US state of Ohio last Sunday, less than 24 hours after the grisly discovery.

Authorities suspected the victim to be Novoa's former girlfriend Shannon Graves, 29, who vanished earlier this year in mysterious circumstances.

Tests revealed the mutilated body was indeed that of Ms Graves, who was reported missing back in February but inexplicably omitted from the Ohio Attorney-General's Missing Persons website until last month.

According to police documents tendered to court, Novoa moved Layton into his apartment shortly after Ms Graves vanished.
 


Layton then took on Ms Graves' identity, using her credit cards and mobile phone, driving her car and even taking on her pet.

"Basically, Ms Layton moved in with Mr Novoa and started living her life," prosecutor Dana Lantz told the New York Daily News. "She didn't hold herself out to be Shannon, she just lived her life, using her phone, caring for her dog."

Novoa and Layton were jailed on corpse-abuse charges with a US$1m bond. Layton was slapped with an additional charge of obstruction of justice.

Layton told police she bought the freezer from a Walmart store in early July, and supplied the extension cord to plug it in at Novoa's building.

Authorities said no murder charges have been filed because a cause of death has not yet been determined. The pair have yet to appoint a legal team.

The victim's sister Debbie Graves told WKBN 27 First News that Shannon dated Novoa and lived with him in an apartment in Youngtown, Ohio.

Social media has been flooded with tributes to Shannon GravesSource:Facebook
Social media has been flooded with tributes to Shannon GravesSource:Facebook

A Facebook page set up to help find her states Ms Graves was "last seen by her family in Christmas 2016" (and) "last seen by her friends in February".

"(She) was at a friend's house party, arguing with a male friend," a post dated July 11 said.

"Shannon called an ex boyfriend who didn't answer. Ex says he didn't receive message until later & then couldn't get in touch with her. No one has seen Shannon since."

"Basically, Miss Layton moved in with Mr. Novoa and started living her life," Dana Lantz, the prosecutor, said in a telephone interview. "She didn't hold herself out to be Shannon, she just lived her life, using her phone, caring for her dog."

Many of Ms Graves' friends and acquaintances have taken to social media to express their sorrow over her suspected murder.

"It's very sad to see the news that Shannon Graves died so violently," Sebastian Rucci said.

"Shannon befriended everyone and was a good friend to my daughters. She did not deserve to die so young and so violently."

Tai Perseverance Mitchell wrote: "I'm truly heartbroken. RIP SHANNON GRAVES you will forever be apart of my memory! You did NOT deserve any of that! Nothing but good times and memories. I will always remember the good deeds you have done for me mannn I'm sad ASF right now."

News Corp Australia


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