Search for missing New Orleans woman leads to headless torso, electric saw and arrest | Crime/Police

Julia Dardar’s ex-husband reported her missing two days before Christmas, and police were looking for answers to the person she was living with, Benjamin Beale.

It was Jan. 5 and Beale, racked with worry, told an investigator that Dardar more than likely killed himself or overdosed on drugs, according to police records filed in the Criminal District Court on Wednesday. the parish of Orleans. But the police were suspicious of Beale’s story: Dardar’s car was still at Beale’s in the Florida neighborhood, along with his belongings.

Six days later, police raided the house and found a headless torso inside a freezer that was plugged into a bus in the backyard. Nearby police found a chainsaw that appeared to have flesh and fluid on the blade, according to court records.

Benjamin Beale.

Authorities have refrained from saying the torso belonged to Dardar or asserting that she was murdered. They said the condition of the body precluded immediate identification or determination of a cause of death.

But police arrested Beale, 34, on Tuesday evening on charges of obstruction of justice, as well as allegations that Beale ran a meth lab in the home the two shared, as Beale clearly emerged as the prime suspect in the disappearance of the 36-year-old man. mother.

Police describe Beale as a man. Acquaintances have said that Beale prefers the non-binary pronouns them and them.

Julia Dardar

Julia Dardar, reported missing in New Orleans on December 23, 2021.

Attempts to contact the Dardar family were unsuccessful on Wednesday. But a Facebook account in the name of her ex-husband carried this message: “The only good that can come out of this is that [Beale] can never hurt anyone again. I would like to thank the New Orleans Police Department and the volunteer [canine] search team for ending the rule of this domestic terrorist and securing justice for our families and children.

Dardar’s husband reported her missing to police on December 23, saying she had moved in with Beale in a house in the Block 2300 Pauline Street. The report prompted an officer to visit and speak with Beale, who said Dardar had moved the previous week, records show. Beale, who also used the name Kelley Kirkpatrick, added that Dardar left all of her possessions, including her white Toyota Prius, and that Beale also wanted to report her missing for fear that she was ‘suicidal’, records show. . .

Beale again spoke to a detective from a New Orleans police station in the St. Claude area on January 5. Beale worked out a plan for her to move out.

But police said there was reason to doubt Beale’s story. Beale did not try to locate Dardar or report him missing until officers asked about his disappearance, police wrote in court records. When asked why, Beale allegedly pretended not to have a cell phone to call the police.

Officers obtained a warrant allowing them to search Beale’s home on Tuesday, and during the raid they spotted a power cord running from the house to a blue school bus in the backyard, records show. The cord was connected to a freezer in the back of the bus, and investigators looked inside.

macabre scene

A gruesome scene greeted them. In the freezer was a headless torso that appeared to belong to a woman. A deep, linear cut ran down the left shoulder of the torso, which appeared to have been inflicted after the woman’s death, according to court records.

The body was found in a freezer on a bus parked at a New Orleans home.

Officers noticed a cooler nearby. They opened it to find a reciprocating saw that appeared to have “chunks of flesh and liquid on the surface of the blade,” the investigators wrote. They also found goggles, a plastic face shield and garbage bags, which police say could have been used by someone who cut up the body.

Additionally, police said they found meth-producing equipment and ingredients at the home, which is one block from an elementary school. They also confiscated Dardar’s credit cards and identity card, as well as two firearms, police said.

Police have charged Beale with obstructing justice in a death investigation, operating a clandestine methamphetamine lab, and illegally possessing drugs and firearms.

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Trial Court Commissioner Albert Thibodeaux set Beale’s bail at $400,000. Beale remained in custody Wednesday afternoon.

The discovery of the torso and Beale’s subsequent arrest appeared to break Dardar’s loved ones, according to Facebook posts from a user identifying as Dardar’s mother-in-law. The woman said she helped her son retrieve Dardar’s car and other belongings from Beale’s home on January 5, the same day Beale was questioned.

They think it’s the body of a woman who disappeared in December.

“I was parked under 50 [feet] from the bus…and had no idea,” the woman wrote. “If anyone else is involved in this atrocious act against my family, you will be caught. … You are hurting my grandchildren and I am determined that you will too, one way or another.

News of the scene at Beale’s house also sent shockwaves through two local communities Beale frequented, according to a number of acquaintances. Beale was known for attending Burning Man, the free-form art and music festival held in the Nevada desert. Beale is also said to be dating a regional analogue called Engulf, which is held in Kentwood.

Beale also practiced acroyoga, which combines yoga and acrobatics, according to multiple acquaintances, who asked that their names not be published. The acquaintances, who knew Beale as Kelley Kirkpatrick, said Beale had fallen out of favor with many in both communities due to allegations of harassment and other misconduct.

Benjamin Beale's house on Pauline Street

A bus, parked next to the New Orleans home where Benjamin Beale lived and where police said they found a dismembered body in a freezer inside a bus, is seen Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.

Circumstances sent many followers to Beale’s social media accounts, where they pointed to a past photo Beale had posted with a filter paying homage to the fictional TV show “Dexter,” which is about a vigilante who kills and dismembers people he considers evil.

Another photo showed an alligator with its entrails dissected. Yet another showed Beale holding an assault rifle while wearing gear that popular culture often associates with those who run meth labs: gloves, goggles and a hazmat suit.

A Facebook post under the name Kirkpatrick suggested that Beale and Dardar had met sometime before June 2021. The post showed Beale thanking Dardar for helping with an elderly neighbor’s move.

“1,800 miles from home”

More recently, Dardar and Beale – using the name Kirkpatrick – each launched online GoFundMe pages soliciting donations to support their return from a West Coast trip they took on a bus Beale inherited. a friend. Beale’s post lamented that the bus, which had made annual trips to Burning Man for nearly 20 years, had been vandalized and otherwise deteriorated.

Dardar’s post described how she helped fix the bus, and now she was “stranded on the West Coast with no funds to get home” to New Orleans, where she hoped to see her daughter graduate.

“I’m 1,800 miles from home” in California, she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “I need fuel, food and shelter. Even though I’ve slept in my car and been to food banks to get by, my back is screwed up from failed epidurals, so it’s not the most comfortable place to sleep.

Dardar returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Ida hit Aug. 29, and Beale followed later, said Tracy Pearson, who lives next door to Beale’s home. That bus, which was mostly white and had a reptilian-like red eye painted above the windshield, was also parked at Beale’s home on Wednesday.

Pearson said Beale and Dardar often walk their little black mongrel dogs together around the neighborhood. Beale was also spinning fire sticks, playing loud rave-style drum music, and trying to sell dental gems.

“The only thing I heard was a lot of fun music,” said another neighbor across the street who has not been identified. “Boom boom boom. No real music.

A third neighbor, Mike Major, recalled Beale inviting him over the weekend. The major said he told Beale he had seen Dardar in the past few days, but Beale insisted, “You haven’t seen him. She disappeared. Unless you saw a ghost, mate.

Major now worries that Beale is keeping Dardar against her will and trying to keep up appearances that she misses, when in fact Beale knew where she was.

“Now I know [Beale] was using me as a tool,” Major said.

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