Police have uncovered a large bloodstain in the abandoned apartment rented by a Burnsville woman whose body was found encased in ice this week near the Minnesota River.
Elizabeth V. Perrault, 41, had not been seen since Nov. 1, when she paid her rent on that apartment, according to search warrant affidavits filed in Dakota County District Court by police.
Perrault’s body was found about 5 miles north of her home Sunday in a holding pond near Interstate 35W and Black Dog Road.
One of the documents filed in late March classified Perrault’s disappearance as “unexplained and highly suspicious,” based in part on evidence collected in her empty apartment three months after she was last seen. A stain on the carpet and the pad beneath measuring 3 feet by 2 feet “tested positive for the presence of blood,” as did the stain underneath on the floor, the court filing continued.
Sheriff Tim Leslie said it would be a couple more days until results from the autopsy possibly reveal how Perrault was killed.
Burnsville Police Chief Eric Gieseke, whose department is heading the probe, said Thursday that “we are allocating all of the resources necessary in this investigation to determine what happened.”
Police began their investigation on Feb. 22, when two of Perrault’s friends reported her missing.
Her apartment manager told police that when he last saw Perrault she was “looking sick and approximately 85 pounds,” according to a court filing. A photo on Perrault’s Facebook page indicates that she was receiving chemotherapy as recently as last June.
An aunt, Schar Ward, recalled Perrault as “a beautiful little girl, but as she grew older, she was a very troubled soul.” Ward said Perrault struggled with alcoholism, and everyone close to her “wishes they had reached out more.”
Perrault’s Facebook page includes several photos of her with her two sons and a daughter. Ward said they have been living with their father in the Twin Cities.
A passerby spotted Perrault’s body in 6 feet of water in an overflow pond. “We had to cut her out,” Leslie said. “That chunk was about 500 pounds. It was quite the recovery operation.”
Leslie said the Medical Examiner’s Office is now slowly defrosting the chunk well below room temperature, “rather than quickly, in order to maintain some evidentiary [material].”