Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"Freezer Boy."

An interesting article and insight into the mind of Philip Schuth- a man who placed his mother's body in a freezer after she had died:

[...]Investigators say Schuth put his dead mother, 86-year-old Edith Margorie Schuth, in that freezer the day she died. An autopsy would show her kidneys and heart gave out. They say he filled it with ice, which during the next 4½ years hardened into a solid block.

They say he confessed, that he did it because he thought he would be blamed for her death. They say he had no job and needed her Social Security checks to keep the house[...]

Two boys were in Schuth's backyard that afternoon at 1330 Bainbridge St. in the town of Campbell, Wis., an island with 4,400 people wedged between the Mississippi and Black rivers. The boys were tearing apart his steps, Schuth says. Police say he came out and smacked 10-year-old Josh Russell on the side of the head.

Randy Russell Jr. and his wife, Melissa, went to confront Schuth, who was in the backyard. And then, police say, the man who had spent most of his life trying not to draw attention to himself pulled a handgun from his pocket and started pulling the trigger[...]

Five bullets flew toward the Russells as they ran to a neighbor's house and Schuth went back into his house.

Police tried to talk Schuth out of his house for 14 hours. That's when they say he told them his mother's body was in a chest freezer in the basement.

At 7:25 a.m., he finally came out. They found homemade explosives and an illegal sawed-off shotgun in the home, as well as a body in the freezer [...]

Philip Schuth has been in jail for three months on a $100,000 cash bond he can't pay. He had $10,000 in cash at his house and $25,000 in an account, funded by his mother's Social Security checks, but his assets have been frozen.

He lives in the downstairs portion of the jail, where they keep high-profile inmates, or those who are physically or mentally disabled, or the ones who get into fights in the general population upstairs.

The number of inmates downstairs has been low recently, a sign, the other inmates tell Schuth, his "evil vibrations" are driving everyone away.

The inmates have nicknames for him. "Sub-Zero." "Freezer Boy." "Frosty" is their favorite.

An inmate was arrested, Schuth heard, while wearing one of the "What's in Your Freezer?" T-shirts that have popped up in the La Crosse area, and the shirt was confiscated at the jail. The jail administrator, Doris Daggett, says that could be true; inmates aren't allowed to have T-shirts with writing of any kind.

The shirts are a play on the "What's in Your Wallet?" Capital One bank commercials, and read, "French Island, WI." on the back. After the shirts came out, a businessman began selling car magnets, one with the same logo, and two others that have a picture of an arm hanging out of a freezer that read, "My Mom is Cooler than Yours!" and "My Old Lady is Cooler than Yours!"

"What really upset me about those magnets was the picture of an arm sticking out of the wretched deep freeze," Schuth says. "I didn't care for that. It implied, in my mind at least, it was a horror movie and she was put in there alive."[...]

Winona Daily News

Previous news report:

Woman's body found in freezer

(CBS/AP) A 15-hour standoff with a man suspected of shooting his neighbor turned into a homicide investigation after authorities found a body believed to be the man's mother stashed in his freezer.

Philip Schuth, 52, surrendered to authorities on Saturday morning after a standoff that lasted through the night. At some point during the standoff, Schuth told authorities his mother's body was in his freezer.

Authorities inspected a basement freezer, chipped away ice and eventually discovered what was believed to be Schuth's mother.

Police suspect that Schuth may have been collecting his mother's Social Security benefits during that time, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reports.

The body appears to have been in the freezer for one or two years, or longer, La Crosse County District Attorney Scott Horne told the La Crosse Tribune.

He said officials "are examining different financial motives, to determine whether there may have been any benefit to concealing the body."

Depending on the autopsy, Schuth could face charges of concealing a corpse.

Officials believe Schuth has not had a job for 20 years, and he does not have any other local family members.

Police picked through the ice just enough to confirm a body was inside before leaving the scene for the Wisconsin State Crime Lab from Madison to investigate further, said La Crosse County Sheriff Mike Weissenberger. It may be a week before the identity of the body is confirmed, he said.

The incident began on Friday afternoon when an 8-year-old boy told his parents that Schuth had struck him in the head and taken his bicycle while riding near the man's home.

The parents and boy went to the home and confronted Schuth about 4 p.m., demanding to know if he had hit their child. Schuth then pulled out a small-caliber handgun and opened fire, said Campbell Police Chief Ron Latva.

The father, identified as Randy Russell Jr., 32, was struck twice in the right shoulder and grazed on the cheek by another bullet. His wife and child were not injured. Russell was treated at a local hospital and released Friday evening.

When authorities arrived, Schuth took refuge in his two-story home. Law enforcement officials from several local agencies surrounded the home through the night.

Negotiators spent 50 minutes of each hour on the phone with Schuth before the situation ended peacefully, Weissenberger said. During the standoff, authorities stopped traffic in some parts of the neighborhood and evacuated some nearby homes.

Schuth has been charged with three counts of attempted homicide, reckless endangerment, concealing a corpse and theft by fraud, the Star Tribune reports.

At a nearby bar, several patrons told The La Crosse Tribune they knew Philip Schuth as a gentle man and often saw him walking around in large rubber boots.

Neighbor Patty Crawford told the Star Tribune she said she had never seen a woman enter or leave the house in the 12 years that she and her husband have lived in Campbell Township.


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