LEWISTON, Maine -- A man who died this month at age 80 took a secret to his grave -- a secret that was discovered only after his family went through his belongings in a storage unit.

Inside an unplugged freezer, they found a set of human remains that investigators believe may be those of the man's former girlfriend, who disappeared in 1983 when she was 29. Investigators are trying to confirm the identity of the body, the cause of death and who may have been involved.

State police detectives were awaiting results of an autopsy being performed yesterday. DNA tests may be needed to confirm whether the body was that of Kitty Wardwell, who was last seen with her on-again, off-again boyfriend Frank Julian.

Julian, who died on Oct. 1, rented the storage unit in 1992.

Back in 1983, he occasionally lived with Wardwell 100 miles away in Holden.

Julian had told police in New Hampshire that he last saw Wardwell after an argument that June, saying he had dropped her off at a motel in Salem, N.H. A friend reported her missing the next month.

A state police investigation indicated she was likely a victim of foul play in Maine. Because of that, the investigation officially remained open.

Before his death, Julian was operating a variety store on Main Street.

The freezer was inside a 10-by-10 unit at Moore Self Storage Facility in Lewiston, where Julian dutifully came about every three months to pay 90 days' rent in person, owner Gary Boilard said. The unit was rented through November, he said.

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