Mississippi Woman Accused of Cutting Pacemaker Out of Dead Boyfriend’s Chest Then Dumping His Body in Trash

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A Mississippi woman had a preliminary hearing Wednesday, facing charges of tampering with evidence, failure to report a death, and desecration of a corpse.

63-year-old Christy Lee Zarrella’s boyfriend, 87-year-old Edward A. Miller, had been reported missing by a friend two weeks earlier. His decomposing remains were found on October 22nd in the backyard of a home the two shared.

According to a police affidavit, Christy told investigators that she didn’t kill Edward, but that he’d died of natural causes on October 5th, and she just panicked and got rid of his body by stuffing it into a garbage can.

Donna Near, a friend of the deceased, became concerned when he hadn’t called her or his sister in a while, when he’d normally done so every day or two.

“I came back into town and I noticed his shed was torn down. He was an avid shed person. He was out in the shed fixing cars or fixing something. It was his solace,” she told a local news station. “And then I saw a neighbor who said they’d had a yard sale and all his clothes and shoes were for sale. He would never do that.”

Officers who responded to the home detected a foul odor coming from a trashcan on the property, leading them to Mr. Miller’s body.

The container showed signs of burns and had parts which were partially melted, leading police to believe she’d tried to burn the body. They also found bleach bottles, believed to have been intended to mask the odors, and that his pacemaker had been cut from his chest. It still hasn’t been found.

Authorities say the octogenarian had been dead for weeks.

Zarella, if convicted, faces up to five years in prison.

She’s currently being held on a $500,000 bond.

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