No Mystery: The Circumstances Surrounding Aprina Paul’s Death Strongly Suggests a Homicide (w/Update)

(UPDATE (11/08/2013, 8:07 P.M.):

A guest to this blog directed me to the right Facebook page of Brittney Humphrey Middleton, the former fiancée of person-of-interest Nathan Middleton in whose company teenager Aprina Paul died the night of October 27-28.  The page looks fairly innocuous, until one gets to Friday, November 1.  Two messages were sent at different times from her cell phone:

“Need big time help form god right know”

“My life need to end I don’t think it can get any worse then this”

Then on November 2:

“Lord take me away”

Again, from her cell phone on November 3:

“Lord Jesus help me threw this ,I miss u and love u Nathan”

Finally, the messages end on November 4 with this:

“Nathan hunny I k.ow u did do it I miss u and love u and will get threw it some how”

A friend of hers warns her against saying too much on Facebook because it is a public venue, so Brittney changes the subject.  Brittney also states that she is married on her Facebook page.

SMDH.

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This is the missing poster for Aprina Paul, 18, who vanished October 27; police were finally brought by Nathan Middleton, 29, to the rear of his home  in Evansville, WI, Rock County to find her charred remains (Courtesy: Facebook.com)

This is the missing poster for Aprina Paul, 18, who vanished October 27; police were finally brought by Nathan Middleton, 29, to the rear of his home in Evansville, WI, Rock County, to find her charred remains (Courtesy: Facebook.com)

Why do I think that this was a homicide?

Why attempt to get rid of the dead body of a young woman that you barely know unless you did something to the woman to cause her death, and you want to cover up evidence of the deed?  It makes things infinitely worse.  I don’t need the law to tell me this.

A smart, truly blameless individual, no matter what his/her marital status, would have called the cops right off the bat and admitted everything.  Including creeping on his fiancée, Brittney Humphrey, 27, who was already styling herself “Brittney Humphrey Middleton” on her Facebook page, and their 8-month-old baby daughter.

Nathan C. Middleton, 29, told investigators that Aprina Paul, 18, died “in his company” after he picked her up and drove her to his house just outside of Evansville early last week, Sheriff Bob Spoden said.

In a state of panic, Middleton hid her body before burning it in a pit fire that continued for days last week, Spoden added.

“He has not admitted to killing her,” Spoden said.

Rock County Sheriff’s investigators are still calling Middleton — a Madison taxicab driver — a suspect in a homicide, Spoden said.

“Our concern is: Why did you go to the extent that you did to cover it up?” he added.

Aprina Paul on her graduation day from Madison West High School (Courtesy: TranspireMag.com)

Aprina Paul on her graduation day from Madison West High School (Courtesy: TranspireMag.com)

In another story, Sheriff Spoden called the burning of Aprina Paul’s body “very repulsive.”  He reiterated his feelings in a GazetteXtra story:

Most people, if someone were to die in their presence, would not respond with that type of an action … They don’t just hide a body and burn it.

Here’s the search warrant involving Nathan Middleton.

Middleton already has a criminal record.  Presently, he’s in jail for violating the terms of his probation.  He remains “a person of interest” as the police try to build up a case against him, however, the authorities might have to release him until further notice because evidence is sparse.  And Middleton is also the son of a murderer, and the apple may not fall very short from the tree.

According to court records, Middleton was found guilty of bail jumping, endangering safety and use of a dangerous weapon in Dane County in 2003. He was found guilty of burglary in Washburn County in 2005. That same year he was convicted in Dane County on two counts of burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon. Eight other counts were dismissed.

[…]

Spoden also confirmed that Middleton’s birth father is Douglas A. Middleton, who is serving a life sentence in Fox Lake Correctional Institute after he was convicted in 1984 of first-degree murder after he was charged with bludgeoning to death a 72-year-old Edgerton woman, Hilda Miller, with a hammer. The conviction was reversed in 1986 by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals but upheld by the same court in 1988.

Aprina Paul doing a selfie on her MySpace site (Courtesy: MySpace.com)

Aprina Paul doing a selfie on her MySpace site (Courtesy: MySpace.com)

I also don’t think that Middleton panicked, although that is his story, set out in court papers today.  Rather, I wouldn’t be surprised that this newest Craigslist encounter gone bad probably involved kinky sex as well as the promise of drugs.  What happened probably took her out of This World and into The Next.

According to the affidavit, Middleton told detectives he dropped his fiance off at work Oct. 27, then picked up Paul in Fitchburg and brought her to his home where she took an unknown drug before having sex with Middleton. Middleton told detectives when he awoke Monday morning, Paul was in his bed not breathing and without a pulse.

After attempting to revive her, Middleton told detectives he hid her body and belongings until Tuesday, when he burned Paul’s body in a fire pit he built in the yard, the affidavit said. Middleton told authorities he moved Paul’s body from into the pit and covered it with wood when his fiance went to town to buy supplies for s’mores. The two then tended the fire until 11:30 p.m.

It was not clear in the document if Middleton had told his fiance about the body.

Nathn Middleton, 29, who hasn't admitted to killing Aprina Paul, but she was "in his company" when she died; no, he's not going to get off that easily (Courtesy: WKOW.com)

Nathan Middleton, 29, who hasn’t admitted to killing Aprina Paul, but she was “in his company” when she died; no, he’s not going to get off that easily (Courtesy: WKOW.com)

Of course, I don’t buy Middleton’s story, but this is what really gets me:  Brittney Humphrey must have known something was up.  A person’s behavior tends to change when they have done something serious, particularly if it is murder or accidental death.  If you really know your S.O., it’s like an electric current.  A vibe.  Plus, at the very least, he snuck Aprina into what was supposed to be their home while Brittney was at work.  Unless he has ice water in his veins, a man who did something like this would look and act weird, or lash out unaccountably, or become even more quiet, distant or preoccupied.  Moreover, even if Aprina’s body was covered up or was hacked up and burned in separate parts, Brittney would have believed her lying eyes if parts of the skeleton were revealed amid the blackened wood and the flames.   And what was that smell all about?  That couldn’t be just kerosene?

He sent her out for s’mores?

Middleton’s fiancé talked with WISC-TV Monday night.

She said she was not aware of Paul being in their home until Middleton confessed to her last week that he burned Paul’s body on a bonfire in their yard.

Sorry, but I think that Brittney Humphrey is lying, if not to herself, then to the cops.  Just my suspicion, but there is no evidence that implicates her yet.  Knowledge of the deed and participating in a cover-up would make her an accessory after the fact.  I think, though, that Middleton had enough time to concoct a story.  I also saw something on local TV regarding Brittney’s true feelings about what happened that she had intimated on Facebook that she felt that her life was over. but at this point, I cannot find the video or a snapshot.  The FB site looks as if it is sanitized or merely under construction.

Not only Middleton’s fiancée, but his landlord, John Crull, and people living in the surrounding area must have been as dense as boulders when it came to the disposition of this young woman’s body.  The fire in this pit burned for several days, from morn until night, and “hundreds” (says Middleton’s landlord) of passersby and motorists as well as residents in the neighborhood recall seeing it.  Worse yet, it seems none of these witnesses questioned whether anything was amiss because bodies always give off a strong, disgusting stench when burned.  Blood, body fat,  organs and even spinal fluid break loose and give off a particular odor in turn.  It’s nothing like leaves or refuse.  What was the matter with these people?

Stacy Wagner first noticed the fire burning in her neighbor’s yard near Evansville on Monday afternoon.

From her front porch, which has a clear view of the yard and fire pit, Wagner watched it burn all week. Day and night, the flames stayed about the size you would expect from a campfire—never going out, or even smoldering, she said.

“It was going when we went to bed, it was going when we got up,” Wagner said.

I would be wondering about that, because most fires that are not fuel-driven (in this case, with a body hidden in the wood) go out eventually.  So why didn’t Brittney Humphrey or the neighbors question why the fire didn’t go out after a couple of days.  The fire incinerating Aprina’s remains reportedly reached a height of eight (8) feet.

Do you know what burning human flesh smells like?  You’ll never forget it when you do:

You’ll know it when you smell it. Burning muscle tissue gives off an aroma similar to beef in a frying pan, and body fat smells like a side of fatty pork on the grill. But you probably won’t mistake the scent of human remains for a cookout. That’s because a whole body includes all sorts of parts that we’d rarely use for a regular barbecue. For example, cattle are bled after slaughter, and the beef and pork we eat contain few blood vessels. When a whole human body burns, all the iron-rich blood still inside can give the smell a coppery, metallic component. Full bodies also include internal organs, which rarely burn completely because of their high fluid content; they smell like burnt liver. Firefighters say that cerebrospinal fluid burns up in a musky, sweet perfume.

That’s how, during the Holocaust, residents in neighboring villages and cities close to Nazi killing centers (concentration camps) knew what was going on.  Not even a breeze could mask or remove the stench of burning corpses.  The miles closer one got to a killing field, the stronger the odor.   It is something way out of the ordinary.  So how could people NOT know that something was wrong, and call the police to relay their suspicions?

Why can’t law enforcement accuse Middleton outright of murder?  Because Middleton burned Aprina’s body almost to cinders, there is no evidence of his culpability on her body.   There is no evidence of blows, or strangulation, or stab wounds,  or gunshot wounds or even the drugs in her system that she supposedly took.  In short, it’s a perfect corpus delicti, that is, there needs to be evidence that a crime has been committed before someone can be convicted of said crime.  The fuzz still have not positively identified the remains as those of Aprina Paul, although the sheriff is convinced that the bone fragments are hers from what Middleton admitted.  They have had to send everything to crime labs in Chicago, for instance, because the fragments have yet to yield up DNA.  And yes, even her skull may not have survived intact.

I think Middleton believed that he was being slick.  No body, no evidence, no murder charge. That’s why he incinerated Aprina’s body.  But the authorities could still put him on trial and with his previous criminal history, they could convict him for covering up and destroying her body.  That’s a felony crime according to the sheriff.

I am not even going to speculate or pass judgment about Aprina’s sexuality or why she decided to answer Middleton’s ad.  She may have been of age, and she may have been highly intelligent, but that does not necessarily indicate maturity or ability to exercise caution or common sense.  At that age, I do remember feeling that I could live forever and that I was bulletproof.  Lots of young women experiment with sex at this point in their lives.  It does not make her any more or any less than any young woman in America: black, white, yellow or brown.

However, I would not have gone out cold with a man I barely knew at 10:00 p.m., at night, and without telling anyone where I was going.  It doesn’t matter if it was anonymous sex or a trick.  And with someone that I had met on Craigslist or on another sex board?  Oh, hell no.  Particularly, Craigslist.  Don’t even think that something foul cannot happen to you.

The impact of Aprina’s death has profoundly upset her family and friends as indicated a few days ago.

Her brother, Adonius Paul, 16, didn’t want to talk with a reporter Sunday after the family was briefed by detectives from the Rock County Sheriff’s office about what they found and about the crime lab results. “I’m not doing real well,” he said.

[Alice] Larrue said Aprina, who graduated from Madison West High School earlier this year, loved her three younger brothers and her job working with children at Madison School & Community Recreation’s after-school program at Leopold Elementary School.

Her daughter “was a very bright, beautiful, smart girl, with a whole bright future ahead of her,” Larrue said.

She said that she’s seen “stuff like this happen before” in the movies and on the news. “This just sounds so out of character. I just can’t believe it.”

At the vigil last night at Penn Park on Madison’s South Side, Alice Larrue was still in a state of disbelief.

“Who would have ever thought this would hit close to us like this?” Larrue asked. “This is something like in a movie to me. I still can’t believe it. Not a child I raised for 18 years. She’s too smart.”

Dominique Harvey said he lived with Paul, and she was like a sister to him.

“I really wish I would have told her how much I love her and care for her, and that she was really like a sister that I really considered in my heart,” Harvey said.

Harvey said it still doesn’t seem real that Paul is gone.

“Just to lay in my bed and look to her room,” Harvey said. “And just see that she’s not there and her clothes and everything are right there, it’s just been really hard.”

Among the prayers and memories, Larrue shared her words of warning to young people in the community.

“If you all could just please, please, please for me, tell somebody where you’re going. Tell somebody who you’re with. Don’t trust anybody,” Larrue said.

Channel 3000 reports that there will be a fundraiser to help Aprina Paul’s family on this Saturday afternoon.  Her friends and family survivors may also trek to Evansville, WI to hold another vigil.  Stay tuned.

~ by blksista on November 6, 2013.

18 Responses to “No Mystery: The Circumstances Surrounding Aprina Paul’s Death Strongly Suggests a Homicide (w/Update)”

  1. Unless they can disprove Middletons statements they will not charge him with murder. It’s to big of a risk. She was not blameless in this. The sheriff has stated they have made the connection between middleton and Aprina on Aprina’s mom’s computer. They can connect them through the cell phone, it was a consensual relationship. SO far what he has said, has been proven, she answered the ad how he said they met has been proven. The evidence backs up that part of his story. It’s really sad how this family has made this about race. They seem so full of hate, it just shows ignorance. The Facebook page they set up to honor Aprina has become a joke, and has lost credibility all together. They need to know they do not need to post some thing every day, or several times of day. It’s like they have run out of things to post , so they are just posting crap , and the things they are posting is bringing the page down. It’s no longer about honoring her its about hate and I am a woman of color and I am just losing respect for them with each passing day.

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    • What has not been proven is whether the young woman died in the way he said she did. That’s the million dollar question, Robin. The cops agree that he met Aprina for sex on Craigslist.

      The reason why he burned her body cannot be that he feared going back to jail as he had violated the terms of his parole. If anything, had Middleton reported Aprina’s death immediately, he might have been given more benefit of the doubt. Toxicology reports might have corroborated his side of the story that she died suddenly and without explanation, other than puffing on a doobie and taking “a tablet.”

      Because he burned Aprina’s body, the police suspect him of trying to hide evidence of his having more to do with her death than he claims.

      I am close to my sixties, so you probably are not privy to what blacks have known about family and friends who were disappeared or murdered under mysterious circumstances by whites in the South and in the MIdwest all the way into the 1970s during the Civil Rights years. The conspiracy of silence about deaths like these make black parents and relatives very upset about the truth being suppressed and murderers being set free. Even now, in the murder of Renisha McBride in Michigan, we do not know who shot her right between the eyes, and she was only knocking on someone’s door looking for help after a car accident. Her parents are asking why the cops are protecting the individual who shot her, and why isn’t he being charged.

      My feeling is that in the Renisha case, it must be someone with political pull or someone who might be an ex-cop, in an area that is known as a “sundown town.” A sundown town, historically, is a town or a city where blacks are at their peril if they are caught there by whites. Renisha may not have known this.

      Aprina’s relatives are reacting out of their grief. They do understand that Middleton was the last to see Aprina alive and they do not believe his story. They don’t recognize, though, that the cops must have more than suspicion to back up a murder charge. Middleton has destroyed the proof. If the cops aren’t clearing up anything to their satisfaction, that is why there may be hysteria on their site, and trying to get Rev. Sharpton or Nancy Grace on their side. I doubt whether they want money. They just want answers. When people are not given enough information or if there are lingering questions, conspiracy theories run riot.

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    • Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but for you to say that you are losing respect for the family and that the page has become a joke, you have a lot of nerve. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. I do not agree that all things should be made about race, but I do believe that they are just acting out of hurt and grief. Way to kick someone when they are down. I am not close with the family but I know Aprina and her mother and if I’m offended by the comments you made, I know that she would be hurt. I don’t care if she was standing on the corner naked, no one deserves to go out the way she did.

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  2. I have to admit I would have a hard time voting for a guilty verdict if there was no proof of what she died from and the fact she answered the ad. She did not deserve what she got, because of what she did. I do not necessarily believe he killed her either, she did use drugs. There are so many new drugs and older ones that can kill you the first time. This molly drug, heroin , synthetic drugs,.

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    • People have been convicted on far thinner evidence; there is every circumstantial reason to believe that she had been done to death by this guy. She supposedly smoked a doobie and then took a tablet—it could have been Tylenol for all we know. And then again, there is always the possibility that he gave her drugs; even something that would knock her out. As the Rock County sheriff’s department said, there is no trusting Middleton’s statements. And because the idiot burned her body, toxicology reports can’t be run either to ascertain whether what she had taken, eaten or drunk was a contributing factor in her death. As the sheriff said, nobody goes out and burns someone’s body if they died naturally in their company, they call the paramedics and emergency services. Quit trying to get this guy off just because she may have been a hooker or a party girl. He isn’t innocent by a long shot, plus one of his burglary accomplices admitted in 2005 that Middleton told him that he wanted to kill people. Not a particular person, but people. This is on record, as well as the fact that his dad is in stir for murder. At the very least, the authorities sure can build a case for hiding and destroying her body.

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  3. I’ve read Chasin’s piece. He may be telling the truth; he may not be. I don’t live in that part of Madison/Fitchburg, and frankly, I don’t want to. But he is just as biased as you. Like I said, I refuse to comment on Aprina’s sexuality, because many young, single women are sexually active, but they are not and should not be termed as easy, hookers or whores. As for Aprina’s family, the only reason, I think, that they would want more media exposure about this murder is that they may be afraid that Middleton will get off scot-free. He will not, but the family’s grief, pain and anger is understandable. If you consider Chasin’s commentary as more factual, I suggest that you stick with someone that you like. And frankly, I am Buddhist, so this is not a “Christian” website. Leave off the finger-pointing.

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  4. In this blog it sort if asks how could the people around this house and hundreds that drive by daily not smell a burning body. This is not meant to be an excuse, but as someone who drives by this property at least twice a day, and sometimes many more for the last 8 years…John Crull’s Farm is known to stink several times throughout the year. Like it comes thru your car vents and chokes you stink even going 60 mph. It might be hard to believe and I’m embarrassed to admit, but I would not have found it odd to smell something awful around that house. I’ve never smelled a burning body but in the past I’ve even wondered if John’s burning a cow carcass or something because his farm has smelled so bad. 😦. I am so sorry to the family for their loss. I cannot imagine the pain you are going through.

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    • As I showed above, a human body that is burnt whole can smell like beef, or worse, burning beef liver. The flesh of a cow is beef. Let’s hope that there isn’t anything else on that farm other than manure. If you would like to give your condolences to Aprina’s family, there is a Facebook page listed downwind. Thanks for visiting This Black Sista’s Page.

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  5. Where/when is the fundraiser on Saturday?? Will someone please get back to me. I don’t wanna miss it!

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  6. you live a certain way and bad things happen. she was no angel. HE will be charged with disposing of her body, a very short prison term. Here in Wis. less than 10 years. YES he got scared because he is on probation and knew if he called the police he would be going straight back to jail, immediately. He thought he could out smart the system, he was wrong. He is a bad man. But we would not be having this conversation had she not answered that ad. It is just a sad, sad story. But two sides to it. A interesting fact that has come to light. This nathan middleton his dad? is currently serving a life prison sentence for murder. The middleton family as well is just a bunch of winners as well.

    Another thing to keep a eye on is this guys girl friend. I believe she had more to do with it than what she is saying. It will be interesting to see if her albi holds up.

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    • You live period and bad things can and do happen. Bad things happen to people who live exemplary lives. I concede she was no angel. For that matter neither was I at her age. Young people do foolish things without thinking of the consequences. Some of us get to learn through life’s experiences. Aprina Paul won’t have that chance. At that age they know everything and we were born yesterday. Yes she put herself out there as so many young girls do. Maybe her death will help at least a few girls live. Live to see maturity, dreams started and goals accomplished. Be careful on these computers. Meeting people going to their homes. Don’t even think about inviting them to yours!!! I can say this and they will continue to do just the opposite. So what can we do as family and friends to change things? You say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? People are individuals. Just because your parents are or was a certain way. It doesn’t mean you have to follow in their footsteps. Statistics don’t run our lives. Don.t blame the father’s crime on the son or vice-a-versa. In that case what are you saying about Aprina? It happened its sad. I don’t think she’s the first. But I hope she’s the last.

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  7. The 8 month old baby is not nathan middletons.

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  8. He may never , ever be charged with murder. They are going to have to be able to prove what she died from and its not looking like they will ever know. BUT lets face facts. She was a prostitute, we were her neighbors and we saw how this family lives and how this girl acted and what she did. It’s a sad story but she took a lot of risks and some thing horrible happened. She was also known to do drugs. So it is very plausible she died from some drug she took. He panicked when she died, he knew if he called the police he was most definitely going back to jail. She was no angel but did not deserve to die for the mistakes she made. The police also have been at their home over the last year.

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    • He will be charged with something!!! So what if she was a prosttitute and did drugs!! OOOHHHH!!! The police have been to their house ? What kind of comment is that!!! Big F*** N DEAL!! It happens to people from all walks of life!!! I’m talking about tragedy!! A man who has it seems covered his crime. Panick my butt!!! I’ve been around and no I’m not a prostitute nor do I do drugs. I’m an upstanding citizen with a good job. Thank You!!! Lots of people OD and they didnt get burned up because someone is scared of JAIL!!! He’s been there, done it seen it !!! He committed a crime and smart fella that he is…. covered it up. But he will get caught !!! If not for this one, maybe an old one. How many people know to burn a body with wood and use kerosene? I wouldn’t know it. Would you?

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    • Who the fuck are you ! And you don’t know anything about my family or me she was my daughter and didn’t deserve to die that way ! Shit are you related to the killer cause you sure talking like you are stupid! I’m going to pray for both of you all souls!

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  9. First of all my heart goes out to Alice and her family. Hopefully the police are looking at previous residences where Middleton has lived. And find out how many young women have gone missing around his previous addresses. This is not the first time he has done this. He may just be a serial killer after all !!! This is still an age of black and white. We all know if a black man would have been burning something, the neighbors would have called the police. But nooooooo a white guy does it and its only a little odd. Also, I hope they have looked for trace evidence of blood. Law enforcement have all kind of equipment that can detect blood splatters. I pray this guy gets what he has coming to him!! In my mind he’s guilty as sin!!!

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