Identification of body found in Lewiston may require DNA analysis

LEWISTON — Authorities continue the investigation into the gruesome weekend discovery of human remains at a Lewiston storage facility, with the State Medical Examiner's Officer planning an autopsy for Monday morning.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

A body believed to be that of Kitty Wardwell, missing since 1983, was found inside an unplugged freezer in storage Unit 173 at Moore Self Storage in Lewiston.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

A body believed to be that of Kitty Wardwell, missing since 1983, was found inside an unplugged freezer in storage Unit 173 at Moore Self Storage in Lewiston.

Submitted to the Bangor Daily News

Francis "Frank" Julian, pictured in his obituary photo, was the former boyfriend of Kitty Wardwell. Wardwell went missing at age 29 in 1983. State Police on Saturday removed an unidentifed body from a storage unit rented by Julian on Lisbon Road. Julian died unexpectedly on Oct. 1.

The body found in an unplugged freezer Friday afternoon at Moore Self Storage on North Lisbon Street is believed to be that of Kitty I. Wardwell. The Holden woman was reported missing in July 1983 after last being seen with her former boyfriend, Frank Julian, who died last month in Lewiston at age 80.

Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine the identity of the remains.

"Our investigation now looks to the Medical Examiner's Office for answers," Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, said. "DNA may need to be used to make a positive identification."

Meanwhile, McCausland said the 28-year-old case into Wardwell's disappearance was never actually closed because she was considered a victim of foul play. He said Wardwell's case remained open nearly three decades despite the original detectives retiring from the force.

Considered an unsolved homicide, McCausland said the case was reassigned to Detective Brian Strout of the Bangor office. He explained that such cases are assigned to detectives for review when time permits.

Strout, who was out of town over the weekend, is charged with reviewing Wardwell's case.

Wardwell, who is listed on the Maine State Police missing persons website, was first reported missing by her friend William Desmond in the summer of 1983. She was again reported missing more than four months later, this time by her sister, Marla Collins.

Wardwell was 29 at the time of her disappearance, while Julian was 52.

 At the time, Julian told police in Salem, N.H., that he left Wardwell at a motel there after the couple got into a fight. A subsequent investigation led police to believe that Wardwell was likely the victim of foul play.

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 's picture

Too bad he was a nice guy

I am sad because I know this man and he was absolutely THE nicest guy you could meet and talk to. Just goes to show I guess that you never know someone's past demons.

I sold wares for him on eBay for extra money for about a year. Damned shame this will be his legacy considering how nice he appeared to be as a person.

Not sure what happened here in this case but obviously judging by his police statement back then about getting in a fight with her and then she left that he may have killed her out of rage over something. She was leaving him? She went with another man? Who knows, sad story in any case and feel badly for the family never knowing until now what had happened to their loved one.

Sandi Reilly's picture

John Beaulieu

I don't have much to say about this story other than my sister is mortified that she(drives for Hudson Bus Lines) and picks up and drops off children next to that storage company everyday of school but I think you are to be commended for standing your ground and not being interested in saying more than you did here.
Being interviewed by Reporters or the Law is not a fun thing, especially when you really don't have info about the crime. Like I was drilled by the Law when my Bro-In-Law was beaten, then passed away in the hospital 48 hours later on May 7, 2010, in Portland. Next they are trying to prove if he died from the beating! What's to prove? Would he have died if he hadn't been beaten ... at that time? I think not. The dood they caught has been released from prison and has fled the State! YAY

My thoughts are with both families in this Julian/Wardwell tragedy.

 's picture

Sorry about your loss

Sorry about your loss, things like that are tough I suppose. The problem with a public forum is that people will make jokes or be callous without realizing that the deceased's relatives are reading them too.

Also I have a strong dislike for reality shows or people on talk shows and the news talking about deeply personal stuff and unless they are trying to spread a message or make people aware of the dangers of the subject at hand I have no use for those idiots.

I simply made a comment in a forum here and that is that. I read another article on this homicide and the person they spoke with said basically the same thing I did and that was Frank was genuinely an extremely nice kind man and putting that face and personality with a homicide is very difficult to do. I had to make sure when I read the article that the Sunjournal had not been mistaken and added the photo of Frank by accident.

Obviously it is so and correct, I am just shocked still. I still have this thought in my head that it was an accident somehow and he panicked and thought he would be blamed for it. Maybe he pushed her and she hit her head and died. maybe in a moment of passionate arguing he punched her and something bad happened.

We'll never know for sure but one thing I do know for sure Frank was a very trusted nice man who obviously made a mistake or he has a second personality I never saw. I would think that after selling for him for a year and knowing him for another that something would have popped up telling me he wasn;t right or odd. My brother who played bumper pool with him years ago said basically the same thing I have and that he was very very nice, kind and great guy to hang with. It is truly sad really, the whole thing for Frank's family and the victim's family.

 's picture

The Press calls

I wanted to let you press persons that called me to know that I do not wish to be asked questions about Frank Julien. I appreciate the 2 phone calls from the SunJournal and Portland Associated Press. I only knew him for a couple of years a few years ago and sold wares for him on eBay that he had acquired for his store he had at the time on Sabattus Street. He would go to new hampshire and buy the wares in bulk and the sell them in his store for profit. It was a thrift store of sorts that had a bit of everything, the store is currently empty and has been for a while. He had mentioned retiring and closing it someday when I discussed it with him. I am not sure that is what he did or not. I read your story on your website and was shocked because it just didn't fit the guy I knew. I did not know about his passing until I read it here, I am not close to the guy and feel any comments I could make would look like someone just trying to get attention. People like that bother me, I am sure it helps your business since you need that but I am not interested. Obviously since you own the comments here and since I don't care about stuff mentioned on the internet you can use them. I am verified I suppose since I had to be to join here.

My younger brother also played bumper pool with Frank in a local bumper pool league years ago and quite honestly we are both shocked since he literally is one of the nicest guys you could meet and talk to.

I am extremely sad for his family more than anything, both the Julien family as well as the victim's family. I cannot imagine finding the remains of a dead body in your father's rented storage unit after his passing. Talk about a double whammy, losing Dad and then finding that out at almost the same time. If Frank's son is reading this I feel badly. Nobody will ever know what happened but from how nice he seemed it could very well have been an accident of some sort caused from an argument that got out of hand in the moment of passion perhaps. Obviously just knowing him as an acquaintance through making money and did not know him personally I really only saw one side of the man. My brother played pool with him as I mentioned and has the same exact feeling I do ... that this is extremely surprising given his personality.

Apparently Frank literally had a skeleton in his closet and we are all shocked.

Nick Adams's picture

Why don't we just get "Bones

[This comment was removed by the administrator]

Sandi Reilly's picture

WOW! Nick? Is that even

WOW! Nick? Is that even funny. Not even ...

Nick Adams's picture

Nothing wrong with a little

Nothing wrong with a little bit of humor to help lighten the mood. :-)

Sandi Reilly's picture

And I do watch "Bones" and I

And I do watch "Bones" and I luv it!

 's picture


I am surprised that no one could smell the decomposing body years ago...

Jeanne Boelsma's picture

Nobody smelled the decomposing body.....

because it was in a sealed freezer.

 's picture


That is right...Sorry I forgot...Good thing it was sealed...


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