Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Woman's body kept on ice for months in California hotel

A woman whose corpse was found packed in dry ice in an upscale Southern California hotel room last week may have been dead for more than a year, authorities said on Tuesday, although it wasn't clear if she was the victim of a crime.

The body of 33-year-old Monique Trepp was discovered wedged into a plastic storage container filled with dry ice when police conducted a drug raid on the Newport Beach hotel room registered to her boyfriend.

Stephen David Royds, 46, was arrested for possession of cocaine for sale but has not been charged in Trepp's death, said prosecutors in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.

"The body has been there for a long time. It appears months, we're not exactly sure. Possibly over a year," said District Attorney spokeswoman Susan Schroeder.

"We're looking into the circumstances to see if it was a homicide or other causes," Schroeder said.

Royds had been staying at the $160-a-night Fairmont hotel in the exclusive beach community for two years, according to media reports.

Newport Beach police said Trepp's death did not appear to be a homicide and toxicology tests would determine the cause.

Royds, a New Zealand native, told the Orange County Register only that "everything that happened was for religious reasons." Locals described Royds and Trepp as regulars at a restaurant across the street from the Fairmont but said Trepp hadn't been seen in almost a year, the newspaper reported..

Royds told the restaurant's staff in April or May that Trepp had died and that he had held a memorial service for her, the Register reported.

Source : STAR
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