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Man with hidden body nixed polygraph

Man with hidden body nixed polygraph

October 27th, 2011 in News

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A store owner who kept a woman's body hidden in a storage unit in Lewiston refused a request to take a lie detector test 10 years after his girlfriend went missing, a retired state police detective said Wednesday.

Frank Julian declined to take a polygraph test while discussing Kitty Wardwell's 1983 disappearance and didn't seem to be interested in what had happened to her, said Joe Zamboni, who retired from the Maine State Police in 2004.

"The impression I got from him was that he didn't really care," Zamboni told the Associated Press.

Julian died this month at age 80 in Lewiston, a city of about 40,000 residents in south-central Maine. His relatives found the body inside the storage unit he had rented in 1992. The medical examiner's office and state police crime laboratory are using DNA to identify the remains, which police suspect are those of Wardell's.

Zamboni picked up the case after the original investigator was promoted. He said Wednesday that there was never any doubt Julian was the chief suspect in Wardwell's disappearance 28 years ago.

Julian's story about going with Wardwell to Salem, N.H., having a fight and then leaving her behind at a motel didn't seem plausible to investigators because it seemed unlikely she'd leave without any contact with her daughter or family, Zamboni said. But it was difficult to advance the investigation because there was no body and no crime scene, he said.

Julian said the last time he saw Wardwell was on June 6, 1983. Over the years, the case remained open and was treated as an unsolved homicide.

"The last person who saw them alive, you have to look at them very closely. That's common sense," Zamboni said. "You don't have to be a homicide investigator to figure that out."

The body was discovered Friday by family members cleaning out the 10-by-10 storage unit, which the storage company owner said Julian paid for in advance every three months. The body was inside an unplugged freezer, which was stashed inside the unit along with stacks of boxes and household items.