Webster County Sheriff's Office

Webster County Sheriff's Office

A Marshfield man confessed to bludgeoning and strangling his wife to death, then storing her body in a freezer for four years, according to Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole.

Larry Allen Dinwiddie, 57, allegedly told Sheriff Cole and two Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers that he was responsible for the death of Cynthia Dinwiddie, his wife, whose body was placed in a freezer that was then stored in a unit at McFadin Storage, located off of Missouri Highway 38 in Marshfield.

In an exclusive interview with the Marshfield Mail, Cole said that Dinwiddie owned up to killing his wife, but he could not remember when.

“He didn’t know the exact date,” Sheriff Cole said. “The labels of the food in the freezer were mostly from 2015. He said, ‘Yeah, it’s probably been about four years.’”

Webster County dispatchers were tipped off when a storage unit worker called them Monday afternoon. Dinwiddie had not kept up payments on his locker, and so the worker was doing inventory of the contents. “He cut off the lock of the freezer, and lo and behold, there was a deceased person in it,” Cole said.

The sheriff was out hunting when the call came in, so he called the Highway Patrol to assist deputies on the scene until he could arrive.

The storage unit worker told the investigators Dinwiddie’s name, and that’s when deputies worked up a plan.

“We had to find this guy, and the storage worker was willing to help us,” Cole said.

Investigators made up a story for the worker to use. The individual told Dinwiddie that the freezer was no longer working and was starting to smell, so he would have to come and get it right away. Sheriff Cole said that Dinwiddie claimed that he was working in Denver at the moment as a truck driver — “Which was not true,” Cole said — but he would turn right around and come back.

In fact, Dinwiddie hadn’t worked for a trucking company in at least a month, having lost his job, and he was not out of town at all, Sheriff Cole said.

Cole said that Dinwiddie came to pick up the freezer today, Tuesday, around 2 p.m. “Myself and a couple of the troopers interviewed him, and he confessed,” the sheriff said. Patrol officers who participated in the interview with Sheriff Cole and helped to apprehend the subject were Sgt. Jason B. Trammell and Cpl. Mike Bracker.

Cole said that Dinwiddie confessed to the murder about 30-45 minutes into the interview and gave the interviewers most of the details, including the identity of the body in the freezer. “We had assumed it was his wife but had not confirmed,” Cole said.

The couple married in 1989, according to records consulted by investigators through the Webster County Recorder’s Office. Missouri CaseNet searches revealed some rental properties, Sheriff Cole said, but no records had been seen for Cynthia Dinwiddie in quite a while.

How does a body remain hidden for four years with nobody asking about the victim’s whereabouts? Cole said that the couple did not have children at the time of Cynthia Dinwiddie’s death, and she did not have family in the area; her nearest family was based in Alabama. When people asked about his wife, Larry Dinwiddie said that he had kicked her out and she was gone.

“All the people here related to him thought she had moved away and they had gotten a divorce or split up,” Cole said.

Sheriff Cole said that Dinwiddie claimed his wife was an abusive alcoholic. “He said she threw a hammer at him, and that’s all he could take — he took the hammer and murdered her with it,” Sheriff Cole said.

An autopsy scheduled for Monday will determine the cause of death. In his statement to Sheriff Cole and the Troopers, Dinwiddie said the he both beat Cynthia with a hammer and strangled her. “He didn’t know at what point she had died,” Cole said.

Dinwiddie told the investigators that he had hidden the body because he was scared and didn’t know what else to do. “He basically just delayed the outcome,” Sheriff Cole said.

When asked why Dinwiddie had not attempted to relocate the body, Sheriff Cole said that fear paralyzed him. “He was afraid that every time he would get close to it, he would get caught,” he said.

His fear was evident in his interview, too, Cole noted. “I think in a way he was almost glad it was over,” he said. “He’d been under some stress. I think he was almost glad to get it off his chest.”

When asked if Dinwiddie approached the storage unit in a furtive manner, Sheriff Cole said that he was more focused on being quick. “He was in a hurry. He pulled right up to the garage area and just walked in,” Cole said. “Me and another trooper were in there ahead of him. We detained him, put him in cuffs and made sure he didn’t have a weapon, but we could tell he was not going to be violent at this specific time.”

All around the storage unit, deputies were stationed in case Dinwiddie took off running. Marshfield police also provided aid.

Cole reported that he was glad Dinwiddie was apprehended. 

“I’m just really glad he’s in custody,” he said.

He noted that Dinwiddie’s confession made it possible for him to speak in an unusually transparent manner about the investigation.

“If he hadn’t confessed, I would almost have had to talk in code before a future interview,” Cole said. “I can pretty much tell you anything.”

He noted that he was able to release names with the permission of the Webster County Prosecutor, who will be pressing charges soon.

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