Couple charged after body found in basement freezer, police say

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 12:00 AM MST
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LOWELL, Mass. (WCVB) - A Massachusetts couple are accused of restraining and holding a man against his will after he was found dead in a freezer in their home.

Samantha Perry, 38, and her 38-year-old boyfriend, Michael Burke, were arraigned Monday in court on kidnapping charges, days after police say a 37-year-old man was found dead at the couple’s home in Lowell, Massachusetts. They both pleaded not guilty.

According to court documents, Perry and Burke told investigators that on Nov. 23, they attacked the victim, with whom they lived, before binding him to a chair and duct-taping his mouth.

Court documents say the couple “forced [the victim] into a wooden chair and then bound him, binding his arms, body and mouth with wire, a green rope, an orange tie down strap and gray duct tape.”

Police found the victim, who is not identified in the court paperwork, dead Friday inside a chest freezer in the couple’s basement while following up on a well-being check.

Perry and Burke are not facing murder charges at this point. The police report reveals that Perry claims another person “attacked the bound [victim], wrapped the green rope around [the victim’s] neck and strangled him until he was apparently deceased.”

The couple then allegedly moved the victim’s body to the freezer, where he was found by police. They say they were forced to partake in the criminal activity by the third person, who was pointing a handgun at them, according to court documents.

Court documents indicate the victim was addicted to opioids. He was reported missing by family after he didn’t show up for Thanksgiving dinner.

Both Perry and Burke are being held pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Dec. 14.

The investigation into the man’s death is ongoing.