Court docs: Lowell kidnapping suspects claim 3rd person strangled man found in freezer

LOWELL, Mass. — A man and woman who were arrested in connection with the death of a man whose body was found in a chest freezer in the basement of their Lowell home faced a judge Monday.

Michael Burke and Samantha Perry, both 38, were arraigned in Lowell District Court on kidnapping charges in the death of a 37-year-old Lowell man who was found dead Friday when police conducted a wellbeing check at their Coburn Street residence, according to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

Lowell police are trying to sort out exactly what happened in this home on Coburn Street. “It was scary. It’s scary I don’t know,” said a neighbor.

According to court documents, Burke and Perry told police there was an altercation in the house and a third person is the one who strangled the victim. Burke and Perry also told police they were forced at gunpoint to duct tape and tie the victim to a chair and carry him down into the basement.

Burke’s attorney, Stanley Norkunas, spoke briefly after both suspects were held without bail.

“I don’t know if there is a murder at this point. My understanding is there is a body of a gentleman being looked at by the medical examiner,” said Norkunas.

Both suspects told police the third person used a green rope to strangle the man and then forced Burke and Perry to move the body into the freezer, plug it in and place items on top. Police say they came to this house originally because the family of a man struggling with addiction filed a missing person’s report and believe he was last seen here.

Burke and Perry first told police they had not seen the missing man which is when police ended up getting a search warrant and found the body in the basement.

A man yelled out in court on Monday that he wanted to talk to his daughter when Perry walked out but he would not comment. “It’s the very beginning of what looks like a very complex situation,” said Norkunas.

We did find a recent missing person’s report on Lowell Police Department’s website, but they would not confirm if there was any connection to this case.

The name of the victim hasn’t been released.

The case has been referred to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of death and to make a positive identification. State police detectives assigned to the DA’s office are assisting Lowell police with an investigation.

Both suspects will be back in court on December 14 for dangerousness hearings.

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