A 29-year-old mother has been charged with second-degree murder after the body of her live-in boyfriend was found in a freezer in her garage weeks after he disappeared from the Shorewood home they shared.
Jetaun Wheeler is facing a single count of second-degree murder in connection with the grisly find and is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim's family members contacted the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department on Aug. 13 to report their loved one had been missing for nearly two weeks.
Police have not released the victim's identity, but his family members told FOX 9 News the victim is 58-year-old Eddie Sole.
BROTHER BEGAN SEARCH FOR VICTIM
Charging documents state Sole's brother, who lives in the Chicago area, had traveled to the home the victim shared with his girlfriend to check on him after he failed to arrive in Chicago as expected on Aug. 1; however, when he got to the home at 5700 Wood Duck Circle, Wheeler tried to flee.
Sole's brother then went to police after she fled back into the house once he blocked her car in the driveway and refused to answer the door. Officers accompanied him to the home and knocked on the door for five minutes before Wheeler answered.
Wheeler told police she last saw Sole on Aug. 3 at about 11 a.m. while dropping him off at the Megabus stop in Minneapolis and had not seen or heard from him since.
VICTIM PLANNED TO LEAVE
Investigators later contacted a close friend of the victim who also lives in the Chicago area. That friend told police he spoke with Sole on the night of July 31, and that he was told Wheeler had assaulted Sole, leaving scratches.
Sole told his friend he thought Wheeler was "crazy" and he planned to leave for Chicago; however, the phone call ended abruptly after Sole said Wheeler was returning to the car. Although Sole said he would call back, that friend told police he never heard from him again.
On the same day the phone call was made, a Carver County Sheriff's Deputy spoke with Sole in the parking lot of a school following a complaint of a loud phone call. Sole told the deputy he was leaving Wheeler and going to Chicago, and the deputy noticed a vehicle registered to Wheeler with a duffle bag inside nearby.
VICTIM MISSING FOR WEEKS
Investigators tried to locate Sole via phone and also looked for him in area hospitals and jails, but they could not find him. On Aug. 15, they began canvassing the neighborhood and speaking with residents.
Two residents who spoke with officers, including one who was described as "friendly" to Sole, told police they had not seen him for about two weeks. The friend told officers the last time he saw Sole, he and Wheeler were having a loud argument in the driveway; however, he could not make out what they were yelling about.
WARRANT SEARCH UNCOVERS BODY IN FREEZER
Officers returned to Wood Duck Circle on Aug. 21 to execute a search warrant at the home the couple shared. Once more, Wheeler told police she had not seen or heard from Sole since she took him to the Megabus on Aug. 3.
Once inside, however, police found two pieces of carpet that did not match any other carpeting in the home rolled up under Wheeler's mattress, and one appeared to be soaked in blood.
Officers then noticed what appeared to be blood spatter near the garage and discovered a new freezer behind two mattresses and under an old box of Christmas ornaments. Inside, they found a man's frozen body wrapped in plastic and duct tape.
Police also located several bags of clothing and shoes in garbage bags hidden beneath the kitchen microwave, and those also appeared to be blood-stained.
Wheeler was taken into custody.
AUTOPSY REVEALS BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy on the frozen body on Aug. 24, identifying the victim as the missing man through finger print cards and other public records.
The autopsy indicated Sole's clothing was heavily soaked with blood, and an external exam found several blunt force trauma injuries to his face and head, bruising on his upper arms and what appeared to be defensive wounds on his hands.
Although there was no evidence of pre-existing injury or disease, the medical examiner also noticed hemorrhaging in the muscles of the victim's neck and tentatively concluded that his manner of death was homicide.
Toxicology and microscopic exam results are still pending due to the complex state of the body, the criminal complaint said.
POLICE: MURDER WEAPON A CLOSET ROD
After the autopsy, police learned Wheeler purchased the freezer on Aug. 5 in Minnetonka and returned to her home to seek a possible weapon. Inside, they found a broken closet rod on the floor of a closet.
Authorities say the rod was broken in two and tested positive for the presence of blood. Investigators also noted that the closet rod in Wheeler's bedroom was missing.
Wheeler remains in custody.
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