Former Washington resident found guilty of dumping body parts in Arizona

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — A man who used to live in Seattle, Washington, has been found guilty of dumping body parts in Arizona.

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According to a news release from the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, Walter Harold Mitchell, 61, was found guilty of 29 counts of concealment or abandonment of a dead body on Thursday.

YCAO said that on December 26, 2020, a pair of woodcutters found a human arm and leg in an area outside of Prescott, Arizona. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and found a total of 24 human body parts. The following day, YCAO said that two hunters found two severed human heads. After an extensive search, there was a total of five heads.

According to The Associated Press, Mitchell had moved from Washington to Arizona earlier in the year of 2020. He reportedly owned a business in Washington that worked to handle cadavers for searches. Prosecutors said, according to the AP, that his business closed in April 2020 and he had taken donor parts with him in a U-Haul truck on dry ice when he moved to Arizona.

Mitchell kept the donor parts in a freezer inside of a shed in Prescott and told officials he had dumped them in November 2020, said prosecutors, according to the AP.

YCAO said that Mitchell sold the freezer and moved into a Scottsdale apartment, where he was eventually arrested.

Mitchell is expected to be sentenced on October 31, and once he is sentenced, YCAO said he would be serving his term in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

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