Officials investigate claims in body-burning letter

Man convicted of mutilating teen's corpse says another man killed her
Officials investigate claims in body-burning letter
Nathan Middleton, 29

It’s been almost a year since 18-year-old Aprina Paul’s death. As her family plans an anniversary to celebrate her life, the man convicted of burning her body is claiming in a letter to the family that he is innocent.

“At this point it doesn’t seem to be legitimate, his claims,” said Capt. Todd Christiansen, Rock County Sheriff’s Department.

Christiansen said this is not the first time Nathan Middleton has tried to claim his innocence. However, it is the first time Paul’s family has been contacted by him.

The sheriff’s department said it wants to make sure Paul’s family knows the right person was convicted.

“We were familiar with who he is naming in that letter (as the killer),” Christiansen said. “We’ve been in contact with him and there was no physical evidence at the time to link the him with the house where Aprina’s remains were found.”

A four-page letter was sent to Alice Larrue, Aprina Paul’s mother, despite a court order to not contact the family. The letter claims that a man Middleton  knows is responsible for Paul’s death.

The letter was sent from the Columbia County Correctional Facility, where Middleton is currently serving a 22 1/2 year sentence in prison for hiding and mutilating Aprina Paul’s corpse.

Christiansen said while the department has had no contact with Middleton to investigate the claims of the letter, the writing and inmate number matched previous letters that he has sent while in prison.

However, with several counties involved in the case, Christiansen said it is unclear which department will have jurisdiction.

“The DA’s office would have to determine if they have jurisdiction to file those contempt charges. It came from a Rock County Court, but the letter was not mailed or received in Rock County. I’m not sure what will happen after that,” Christiansen said.

Christiansen said an investigation report will be sent to the Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary.

O’Leary told News 3 he will not make a comment regarding the case until he has reviewed the sheriff’s department’s report.