A Somerville, Ma., woman allegedly killed her husband and stashed his remains in a local self-storage facility for 13 years. “Very bizarre” was how Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley described the discovery of the body, says the Boston Globe. Police investigating murders or missing people have tracked victims to self-storage facilities at least a dozen times nationwide in the last decade, as the industry has boomed. While facility owners and managers expressed shock at what authorities discovered at Planet Self Storage in Somerville, they acknowledge their oversight of customers is limited. Any number of bodies could be hidden behind their metal doors. “It’s my worst nightmare,” said Angela Smith of Charlestown Self Storage. “You do worry about it, because you can’t touch their belongings, and you don’t know everything they’re storing.”
A California woman who killed her estranged husband by stuffing him in a plastic drum and pouring chemicals over him shipped the barrel to a self-storage unit as police closed in. A teenager stored a dead infant in a Virginia facility in 2002 and was discovered when she fell behind in payments. Storage facilities are often the body-dumping sites of choice, in part because it’s become harder to find desolate patches by the side of the highway, said Northeastern University criminologist Jack Levin. “Our population is larger, we’ve cleared out areas that were previously unexplored, and there are simply fewer places to hide bodies,” he said. “Killers who try to get away with murder have to be more creative.” With the number of self-storage units in the country having doubled to 13 million in the last decade, according to the Self-Storage Almanac, that’s bound to mean an increase in these kinds of cases, said James DiNardo of Reading, past president of the Massachusetts Self Storage Association.