A boyfriend was charged Monday in the death of a 41-year-old woman whose ice-entombed body was found under a bridge in a holding pond south of the Minnesota River in Burnsville.
Uriah D. Schulz, 40, of Apple Valley, was charged in Dakota County District Court with unintentional second-degree murder in connection with the death of Elizabeth V. Perrault, 41, on Nov. 1, 2017. Schulz remains held without bail ahead of Tuesday's initial court appearance.
Among the evidence against Schulz: His gas station rewards card was used after Perrault was last seen during several purchases made with a financial transaction card belonging to her.
Police began their investigation on Feb. 22, when two of Perrault's friends reported her missing. Her body was spotted encased in ice on April 22 by a fisherman about 5 miles north of her home in a holding pond near Interstate 35W and Black Dog Road. She was wearing a bathrobe, and the body was wrapped in a blanket bound by two cords around her lower legs, police said.
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," the aunt said.
According to the criminal complaint:
At the time of Perrault's disappearance on Nov. 1, Schulz was living with her in her apartment. At her parents' request, police went to her apartment on Dec. 13 and saw her personal belongings gone and a few pieces of furniture remaining.
The fisherman found her body two months after the investigation began. An autopsy detected blows to the right side of Perrault's face, with broken bones around her eye and cheek.
A police search of the apartment found a dark bloodstain on and under the carpet in the master bedroom. When the carpet and pad were removed, a large stain was found on the subflooring. Police searched the car that Schulz was driving when Perrault was last seen, and testing revealed blood on the carpet liner.
Having no blood from Perrault's body, DNA collected by investigators from her mother found strong evidence that the blood from the apartment and Schulz's car came from Perrault.
Schulz told police he and Perrault started dating in the fall of 2017 and he last saw her on the day she disappeared when she left in a car with two women he could not identify who supposedly were taking her to a dependency treatment facility.
The police investigation found that Perrault's government benefits debit card had been used 20 times since Nov. 1, and nine of the transactions occurred at a SuperAmerica in Burnsville along with Schulz's SuperAmerica rewards card. He explained that someone named "Troy" was using her benefits card.
Schulz explained that Perrault's blood in the car came from when he picked her up at a hospital and put some of her items in the trunk.
A woman who lived in the same complex reported to police that she heard a loud "boom" from Perrault's apartment possibly in the second or third week of October. She said the noise was so loud that it shook the lamps in her apartment. Two of three days later, the woman continued, she saw Schulz moving things out of Perrault's apartment.