Police arrested Arturo Novoa and Katrina Layton on Sunday after finding human remains in an upright freezer Novoa was storing at a friend’s house near Youngstown, Ohio.
Authorities said Novoa told his friend that he couldn’t keep the freezer at his place because his power was off.
The friend grew suspicious because the freezer was padlocked.
He and his wife popped it open over the weekend and found a corpse inside, CBS News reported.
Authorities identified the body as 28-year-old Shannon Graves, Novoa’s former girlfriend, who was reported missing several months ago. A cause of death has not been released. Both Novoa, 31, and Layton, 34, of Ohio were charged with abuse of a corpse.
Layton was also charged with obstructing justice.
They both remain in jail, and bail has been set at $1 million (R13.2m) each.
It is unclear if they have entered a plea.
“No one was charged with a murder because we have no idea what the cause of death was,” Youngstown Police Lieutenant Doug Bobovnik told local media.
Authorities also claim that Layton began living Graves’s life after she disappeared. While she didn’t assume the identity of the missing woman, Layton allegedly lived in her home with Novoa and used her belongings as if they were her own.
“Basically, Miss Layton moved in with Mr Novoa and started living her life,” Youngstown prosecutor Dana Lantz said at a news conference.
“She didn’t hold herself out to be Shannon, she just lived her life, using her phone, caring for her dog.”