MADISON, Wis. - Nathan Middleton was charged Wednesday with hiding and mutilating a corpse in connection to the death of 18-year-old Aprina Paul.
The 29-year-old was arrested Nov. 13 after he confessed to burning Paul's body, and investigators found female human remains on his property.
"Right now we're still trying to confirm it's her body, the remains that were found at the scene. Homicide charges are not dependent on it being her at the scene. The problem we're having with this case is because of the condition of the body at the time, and being able to prove how she died," David O'Leary, Rock County District Attorney, said.
Paul's family told police they thought she was working as an escort, and that they found voice mails from 18 different men asking about dates on her phone, according to a criminal complaint. Paul's best friend also told police she sold marijuana and worked as a prostitute. She also said Paul advertised on CraigsList.
After Paul's family reported her missing, investigators plotted the last calls on her cellphone to east of Evansville and north of Highway 14, according to the complaint. Investigators also found that Paul and Middleton were in contact numerous times via cellphone and had sent 66 text messages over nine hours the day he picked her up.
Middleton voluntarily responded to police and during his interview said he knew Paul as Lilly, according to the complaint. He said Paul contacted him from his personal ad that said something close to "message and have a good time and go from there."
According to the complaint, Middleton said the text messages were about wanting to "hook up" and prices ranging from $100 to $140. He also said they messaged about the fact that he understood she was an escort.
During the police interview, Middleton originally denied picking up Paul, but then told police he spent the night with her and then dropped her off in the Stoughton area on Monday, according to the complaint. Then Middleton changed his story and said she was dead the morning after he picked her up.
Middleton told police he hoped the investigation would pass him by and that his whole life was over now because "he had gotten rid of a body of a druggie," according to the complaint.
Middleton said he did not "brutally touch her," but that she overdosed on drugs she was doing the night before, according to the complaint. He said he wrapped her body in a blanket, and covered it with an old truck bed liner behind a shed.
According to the complaint, Middleton's daughter was home during the incident.
During the interview, Middleton said he bought a shovel and kerosene, returned home and dug a hole for a fire pit Tuesday night, according to the complaint. He said his fiance went to town to get ingredients for s'mores and he put Paul's body in the fire pit. After she got home, she stayed inside for an hour before coming outside.
Middleton told police he put Paul's purse and clothes in a burn barrel behind his house, and burned them Monday morning.
Bail has been set at $100,000, $50,000 for each count he is facing.
- Witness: Man points gun at kids playing basketball
- License plate left behind at hit-and-run scene IDs driver, police say
- State Democrats announce new gun safety coalition
- State dairy farms face closure due to Canadian policies
- Madison man claims $50,000 lottery prize
- Consumer Reports: How to ease stress of moving