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Thursday, January 27, 2011
Remains in Freezer May Be Husband's
By Rene Romo
Journal Southern Bureau
LAS CRUCES — The body found Monday in a freezer that had been stored in a Carlsbad-area house may be the former husband of the woman who lived there until her death in November, according to a preliminary finding by the Eddy County Sheriff's Department.
Capt. James Zuniga, spokesman for the sheriff's office, said the identity of the man has not been confirmed, but evidence indicates that he was James Sharpe, husband of the late Barbara Sharpe, who died late last year at the age of 63. James Sharpe had been unaccounted for since 1997, when he would have been in his early 70s.
In correspondence found at the house on Haston Road south of Carlsbad, and apparently written by Barbara Sharpe, the woman expressed remorse for some unspecified action and said she could not afford to survive without her husband's retirement income, the sheriff's office said Wednesday. The letter says James Sharpe died Nov. 14, 1997, Zuniga said.
In the letter, Zuniga says, Barbara Sharpe says "she's been suffering ever since she did it, but she doesn't say what" she did.
Before her death last year, Barbara Sharpe also told a hospice worker that she had stored her late husband in the freezer, which was in her bedroom. The hospice worker dismissed the statement, believing it was the result of her grave condition, the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff's office Wednesday was awaiting results from the state Office of the Medical Investigator on the cause of death. Zuniga said there were not obvious signs of trauma to the human remains discovered in the chest-type freezer.
Barbara Sharpe's daughter, and the daughter's husband, were moving the freezer and other contents of the house into storage Monday when they looked inside and saw the frozen remains.
Unable to determine what they were looking at, the couple hauled the freezer to the Carlsbad Police Department for an examination, and police quickly concluded that the remains were human. The sheriff's office is handling the case because the freezer was originally in a house outside city limits.