New Orleans police officers who were searching for a missing woman found a chopped up body in a freezer, a reciprocating saw covered in “bits of flesh” and her wallet in a safe on the property, according to court documents.
Micah Dardar reported his estranged wife Julia Dardar, 36, missing just before midnight on Dec. 23, 2021, according to New Orleans police.
Micah Dardar told police his ex had moved in with Benjamin Beale, a 33-year-old alleged meth and pot dealer, at a house on Pauline Street.
Police spoke with Beale that evening and he told them he hadn’t seen Julia Dardar since Dec. 16, according to court documents. He said they were having relationship issues of their own and that he believed she may have been suicidal.
He told the responding officer that Julia Dardar had moved out of his home but left her belongings and car behind.
On Jan. 5, 2022, Beale went to the police station and gave a contradictory statement on Julia Dardar’s disappearance – saying he’d last seen her on Dec. 12, an affidavit states.
“It should be noted that Beale did not give any indication that he was worried about Julia and/or any indication that he attempted to locate Julia,” the affidavit continues. He also told police, in person, that he waited to report her missing “because he had lost his cellular phone and did not have the means to contact police.”
Police served a search warrant at Beale’s home on Jan. 11 and saw extension cords running out the back door and into a Chevrolet Diesel 60 bus parked in the yard, according to the criminal complaint – and inside they found a freezer and ice box.
In the freezer, investigators discovered “the headless torso of what appeared to be an adult human female,” court documents state.
She’d suffered deep cuts that “appeared to have been inflicted post-mortem.”
In a nearby Coleman ice chest, police said they found a reciprocating saw “which appeared to have bits of flesh and fluid on the blade.” Nearby they found goggles, a plastic face shield and garbage bags.
Police also found an alleged meth lab and illegal weapons, court documents reveal, and they backed out of the house and called in assistance from state police in order to deal with the potentially hazardous materials present.
The crystals found in the home later tested positive for methamphetamine, according to an affidavit.
In a safe in one of the bedrooms, detectives said they found Julia Dardar’s purse, wallet, identification and credit cards. Police also said they found at least two unlawful firearms.
The alleged makeshift meth lab was within about 105 feet from a nearby school.
Once police arrested Beale, he refused to talk further, according to authorities.
He is currently held on $400,000 bond at the Orleans Justice Center on a slew of charges – but not for homicide, court documents show.
The charges are for alleged obstruction of justice in the missing person case, distribution of meth and marijuana, illegal weapons possession and running a “clandestine drug lab.”
The identity of the remains has not yet been publicly confirmed by authorities.
Beale also identified as “Kelley Kirkpatrick” on Facebook, according to NOLA.com. A social media account under the pseudonym showed Beale posing for a selfie posted in early November with an overlay from Showtime’s “Dexter” – a popular series about a serial killer who dismembers his victims.
Another selfie showed him dressed up in an all-white protective jumpsuit, wearing goggles and holding a semiautomatic rifle.
And last year the account shared an image of a butchered gator cut up and neatly arranged on a kitchen table.
Beale is due back in court on March 3. A spokesperson for the public defender’s office, which is representing him, said it does not comment on pending cases.