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Arrest warrant issued in ice chest body case

By Janet Mcconnaughey

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 8 2012 1:52 p.m. MST

NEW ORLEANS — St. Tammany Parish sheriff's deputies have obtained an arrest warrant for a woman accused of putting an 83-year-old man's body in an ice chest and his hands in her freezer. Her roommate has been arrested in the case.

The warrant accuses Debra Fisher, 58, believed to be the man's daughter, of mutilating or disinterring human remains and of unlawfully disposing of remains, said George Bonnett, spokesman for Sheriff Jack Strain Jr.

The parish coroner is trying to confirm the identity of the victim and had not yet completed an autopsy, Bonnett said.

Fisher was undergoing a medical evaluation that could take up to 72 hours, he said.

Bonnett said the roommate, Heidi Todd, 44, was booked Wednesday on one count of unlawful disposal of remains and held in lieu of $30,000 bond.

"The women used to live at another place, in a trailer somewhere that apparently got destroyed in Hurricane Katrina," Bonnett said. "After Katrina, the two moved in with the father at the address" where the remains were found Tuesday.

The man's Social Security check was believed to be Fisher's only income, Strain said.

Authorities said Fisher had told them on Tuesday that her father died some time ago. Instead of reporting the death, she allegedly told deputies she left his body on a bed. As it began to decompose, she allegedly cut off his hands, freezing them and putting the 6-foot-2 body into a 40-gallon ice chest.

It was easy to conceal the man's death because he apparently was bed-ridden and neighbors rarely saw him, Strain said.

He said the women went to police after deputies came to check out the apartment in the suburban New Orleans community of Slidell because workers trying to fix the air conditioning had been turned away.

Bonnett said he did not know whether either has an attorney.

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