Man charged in death of Burnsville woman found frozen near Minnesota River

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Police in Burnsville, Minnesota announced Monday they have arrested and charged a man in connection with the death a woman whose body was found frozen in a chunk of ice near the Minnesota River last April. 

Friends of Elizabeth Perrault, 41, reported her missing to the Burnsville Police Department on Feb. 22 after they had not seen or heard from her since October. On April 22, her body was located in a holding pond under Interstate 35W near Black Dog Road.  

“The medical examiner can’t actually conclude how she died but they have determined that she suffered some broken bones in her face when she died,” said Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom.

Uriah Schulz, 40, was arrested in Apple Valley on Monday. He is charged with second-degree murder. He faces up to 40 years in prison. 

“The suspect has made many statements to police,” said Backstrom. “Many are inconsistent.”

Schulz was Perrault’s live-in boyfriend. According to the charges, he did not approach anyone about her disappearance until several days after she was gone and one of Perrault's friends said he was “crying uncontrollably” about the situation. 

The charges say Schulz had told Perrault's friend two women took Perrault to an all-female treatment center in Eagan or Bloomington on Nov. 1, 2017. Investigators determined that type of facility didn't exist in Eagan, and a Bloomington facility had no record of Perrault being a client.

Witnesses told police they saw Schulz moving items out of Perrault's apartment around late October.

When searching Perrault's apartment, police found a dark stain on the carpet in the master bedroom, which tested positive for blood. The stain appeared to have seeped through to the carpet pad and the subfloor beneath. 

In an interview with police, Schulz gave an "unsolicited, elaborate story" that in September Schulz had spilled two glasses of wine in the bedroom and the bathroom causing a "big stain on the bedroom carpet and smaller drop like stains in the bathroom."

Schulz also told police in December he allegedly met up with a man named "Troy" who gave him Perrault's EBT card in order to complete a money transaction as a favor for her. However, police found records that her card was used throughout November with a SuperAmerica rewards card registered to Schulz. When confronted with this information, Schulz claimed he hadn't used the rewards card in more than a year.

After speaking with Schulz's mother, they learned he used her Lincoln Town Car until mid-December of 2017. Investigators found blood inside the trunk. Schulz was unable to explain how her blood got into the trunk.

Using DNA samples from Perrault's parents, authorities determined the blood found on the subfloor in the master bedroom and the blood found in the trunk belonged to a biological child of Perrault's parents. She is the couple's only biological child.

“Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Elizabeth,” Burnsville Police Chief Eric Gieseke said in a statement. “Every loss of life is a terrible tragedy, and we are hopeful this arrest may help them in the difficult healing process.” 

Schulz is expected to have his first court appearance on Tuesday.