Homeowners cleaning their new house in Alabama over the weekend made a disturbing discovery in an overturned freezer in the backyard: a severely decomposed human body.
Henry County Sheriff Eric Blankenship said deputies were called to the scene in Headland on Sunday. He said the remains are thought to be those of 19-year-old Logan Michael Halstead. Halstead’s parents—the previous tenants at the house—have now been charged with abuse of a corpse.
Michael Shane Halstead, 44, and Karen Tysinger Halstead, 43, rented the property but left over a month ago after skipping rent payments, according to WDHN. The house’s owner then sold it to the new buyers, who found the teenager’s body on Sunday.
According to AL.com, the owners were planning to get rid of the freezer in their yard but found it was too heavy to load on a trailer, so they decided to clean it. When they opened the freezer’s door, they saw a hand inside and immediately contacted authorities.
Sheriff Blankenship said Logan may have died as early as July or August. He said the body was so decomposed that deputies could not immediately determine its gender. Later on Sunday, Logan’s parents were taken into custody and charged. The parents were booked into the Henry County Jail without bond.
Logan’s body has been transported to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy, Blankenship said, and the parents may yet face more charges depending on the results.
“This incident is a very tragic situation, and our agency is committed to finding out the truth,” Blankenship said.
The couple appeared in court on Monday, where a judge set their bond at $175,000 each. In court, Michael Shane Halstead testified his wife was not involved in disposing of their son’s body.
According to WTVY sources, Michael had confessed weeks before the body was found that he had put his son’s remains in a non-working freezer. The father allegedly told police what had happened on Oct. 11 after departing the Headland property, but police failed to find the body when they inspected the freezer.
Logan had suffered from a variety of medical issues, including spina bifida, WTVY reported.
The body was described in court testimony as having been wrapped in tarps and blankets and placed inside a cardboard box. Sheriff Blankenship said that the father claimed to have suffered a manic episode and couldn’t remember how his son ended up in the freezer.
On the same day as his alleged confession, Michael was arrested by Dothan Police, who reportedly jailed him for 10 days for failing to appear in court on domestic violence charges.