Larry Allen Dinwiddie faces three charges after confessing to killing his wife, Cynthia Dianne Dinwiddie, and storing her remains in a storage unit freezer for four years.
On Wednesday, Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin J. Berkstresser filed a felony complaint in the Circuit Court, charging Dinwiddie with second-degree murder, abandoning a corpse and armed criminal action.
However, later on Wednesday, another investigator with the Webster County Sheriff’s Office conducted a second interview with the accused, at Dinwiddie’s request. As a result, Sheriff Roye Cole reported that the first charge may be upgraded to first-degree murder, as the interview revealed the murder appeared to have been premeditated.
Also on Wednesday, Webster County Coroner Michael P. Taylor used DNA analysis to positively identify the body found in the freezer as belonging to Cynthia Dinwiddie, 56, 228 North St., Marshfield. An autopsy will be performed on Monday.
Larry Dinwiddie, 57, of 228 North St., confessed to killing his wife by beating her with a hammer and strangling her. He told authorities that she had thrown a hammer at him, and he had killed her in retaliation.
A probable cause statement filed with the Webster County Circuit Court Wednesday added some details to the story released Tuesday about the discovery of the body and the apprehension of the suspect. The key part of the document enumerates the events leading to the murder as follows:
• Dinwiddie told investigators, “My wife was an abusive alcoholic.”
• The couple had been in an argument when Cynthia threw a hammer at him.
• After she threw the hammer at him, Dinwiddie said, he couldn’t take any more, and he “hit her with ‘everything’ he could.”
• He killed her with a hammer by striking her in the face and head, and he also strangled her.
• After killing her, he was scared and didn’t know what to do with her body, so he drug her to the freezer and placed her inside.
Dinwiddie’s confession included his answer to the query of why he kept the corpse in the freezer for four years: “Dinwiddie stated he just didn’t know what to do,” the document states.
The statement continues, “Dinwiddie claimed friends helped him move the locked freezer from his old house to the storage unit without knowing a person was inside.”
When Dinwiddie was apprehended Tuesday, he had shown up with friends to recover the freezer, which he had presumed was still locked.
Second-degree murder, the charge currently on file in Webster County, carries a penally of 10 to 30 years imprisonment, or a life sentence. The Class E felony of abandonment of a corpse includes a term of one to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The armed criminal action charge carries a term of not less than three years without eligibility for parole.
Dinwiddie is currently incarcerated in the Webster County Jail. Cynthia Dinwiddie’s remains have been transported to a Springfield mortuary.
Miles Bright of the Cedar County Republican in Stockton, a sister newspaper to The Mail, contributed to this report.