Missouri man charged in death of wife found in freezer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors charged a southwest Missouri man Wednesday with second-degree murder, alleging he killed his wife in 2015 by hitting her in the head with a hammer and strangling her before stowing the body in a freezer at a storage unit.

Fifty-seven-year-old Larry Dinwiddie, of Marshfield, was also charged with abandonment of a corpse and armed criminal action in Cynthia Dinwiddie’s death. He is jailed on $1 million bond. No attorney was listed for him in online court records.

Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole says managers at the storage facility on the outskirts of the small town of Marshfield found the body Monday in a freezer that was plugged in and padlocked shut after the man fell behind on rental fees. Marshfield is located about 175 miles (281.62 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City.

Cole wrote in the probable cause affidavit that a person who worked at the storage unit then contacted Dinwiddie and encouraged him to remove the freezer from the storage unit where it had been kept for more than six months. The employee said the freezer wasn’t working and was beginning to smell.

Dinwiddie was arrested around 2 p.m. Tuesday when he showed up at the facility with friends to get the freezer. The affidavit said that Dinwiddie described his wife as “an abusive alcoholic” and alleged that she threw a hammer at him during an argument. He said that he couldn’t take it anymore and hit her with “everything” he could.

“After killing her, he was scared and didn’t know what to do with her body, so he drug her to the freezer and put her in it,” the affidavit said. Asked why he kept the corpse in the freezer for four years, Dinwiddie said he “just didn’t know what to do.”

He said friends helped him move the locked freezer from his old house to the storage unit without knowing a person was inside. A man who answered the phone at the storage facility declined to answer questions.

Cole said an autopsy will be conducted Monday after her body defrosts.

Authorities said there was no indication the woman had been reported missing. Cole says the man told people that she had left.