Man Accused of Putting Ex-Girlfriend's Corpse in Padlocked Freezer While New Girlfriend Started Living the Victim's Life

(Photo: Mahoning County Sheriff's Department)

Man Accused of Putting Ex-Girlfriend's Corpse in Padlocked Freezer While New Girlfriend Started Living the Victim's Life

Arturo Novoa and Katrina Layton have been charged with abuse of a corpse.

Published August 1, 2017

A couple from Ohio were arrested Saturday after human remains were found in a freezer, authorities said.

Arturo Novoa, 31, and Katrina Layton, 34, were charged with abuse of a corpse. Layton was also charged with obstructing justice, reported WFMJ.

They are currently being held in jail with their bond set at $1 million each.

Authorities believe the body is that of Shannon Graves, a 28-year-old woman who was reported missing on June 22, and they are awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner’s office. Graves once dated and lived with Novoa, who claimed that she left him for another man.

However, Graves left behind her car and her dog, which made her family suspect foul play.

Layton, who soon after became Novoa's live-in girlfriend, "started living the life of the victim," Youngstown City Prosecutor Dana Lantz told BuzzFeed News.

Once Layton moved into Graves's home, she drove her car, used her cellphone and used her food card, according to Lantz. Authorities said Layton took care of the dog Graves left behind.

"She was the new girlfriend," Lantz told Buzzfeed. “[Layton] basically took over [Graves's] place in Mr. Novoa's life."

According to police, Layton bought the fridge where the body was placed. Yet, when the power was cut in Novoa’s home, he took the freezer to his friend Kenny Eshenbaugh to store in his basement.  

He told Eshenbaugh he didn't want "his freezer full of meat to spoil," the complaint said.

Eshenbaugh agreed but noticed there was a padlock on the freezer. On Saturday, Eshenbaugh called the police after his wife opened the freezer and discovered human remains kept in "more than one bag" inside the freezer, according to the complaint.

Authorities have not yet established a clear motive and have not charged Novoa and Layton with Graves's death. 

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Mahoning County Sheriff's Department)

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