Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Uriah David Schulz, age 40, currently residing in Apple Valley, has been charged* with one count of Murder in the Second Degree (Without Intent While Committing a Felony) in connection with the death of his girlfriend, 41-year-old Elizabeth Victoria Perrault of Burnsville, which occurred on or about November 1, 2017. Perrault’s body was not located until April 22, 2018.
The facts alleged in the criminal complaint include:
Elizabeth Perrault disappeared around November 1, 2017. At the time of her disappearance, Uriah Schulz was living with her in her Burnsville apartment. On December 13, 2017, Perrault’s parents contacted the Burnsville Police Department and requested that officer’s conduct a welfare check at her apartment because they had not heard from her for quite some time. Perrault was not present when officers went to her apartment on that date and officers observed that none of her personal effects were present and only a few pieces of furniture remained in the apartment. On February 22, 2018, two male friends of Perrault filed a missing person’s report with the Burnsville Police Department concerning Perrault and expressed concerns regarding statements that had been made to one of them by Schulz.
On April 22, 2018, a fisherman called 911 and reported that he found what he believed to be a dead body while fishing near the I-35W bridge in Burnsville. Officers responded and located the dead body under the bridge in a small holding pond south of the Minnesota River. The body was badly decomposed and was found wearing a bathrobe and wrapped in a blanket, which was bound with two cords around the body’s lower legs.
Using dental records, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) identified the body as Elizabeth Perrault. The ME determined that Perrault died by a homicide of unspecified means. Blunt force trauma was found on the right side of Perrault’s face, with bone fractures around her eye and cheek. Due to the state of decomposition of Perrault’s body, no blood was present.
The Burnsville police investigation revealed that the blanket Perrault’s body was wrapped in when found came from her Burnsville apartment. Several puncture holes, six of which tested positive for the presence of blood, were found in an examination of the robe, which was covering Perrault’s body when she was found. A search of Perrault’s former apartment found a dark stain on and under the carpet in the master bedroom, which tested positive for blood. Also found through the use of blue luminescence was the shape of a human body on the floor of the bedroom, along with what appeared to be a footprint. When the carpet and carpet pad was removed, a large stain was found on the subflooring. Swabs were taken of this stain for DNA analysis. Police also conducted a search of the car Schulz was driving around the time of Perrault’s disappearance. When sprayed with chemicals used to detect the presence of blood, luminesce revealed a stain in the carpet liner of the trunk, which tested positive for blood. DNA swabs were also collected from this area for analysis.
Because no blood was available from Perrault’s body, DNA samples were collected from her biological mother and father, which were submitted for DNA analysis. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension conducted DNA analysis. This DNA analysis found that there is strong evidence to support that the major female DNA profile obtained from the various bloodstains mentioned above which were tested, came from a biological child of Perrault’s parents. Perrault’s biological parents had no children other than Elizabeth Perrault.
Burnsville Police questioned Schulz on several occasions. He said he had known Elizabeth Perrault for about two and half years and that they had started dating in the fall of 2017. On October 31, 2017, the investigation revealed that Perrault renewed her driver’s license and Schulz told police he was with her when she did so. He also said that later that same day she told him she was drinking and was going to enter treatment. He said he last saw Perrault on November 1, 2017 when she left in a car with two women he could not identify who supposedly were taking Perrault to a treatment facility. He initially claimed he had not seen or spoken to Perrault since November 1, 2017, but when confronted with a Facebook message he had sent to a friend of Perrault, in which he claimed to have spoken to her on December 12, 2017, he then told police that this conversation had occurred but Perrault didn’t tell him where she was at that time. Schulz denied doing anything to Perrault and said that she was alive the last time he saw her.
Schulz told police that the last time he was in Perrault’s apartment was on November 1, 2017. However, when police obtained his cell phone and examined it through search warrants, it was determined that his cell phone had connected to the free Wi-Fi at the location of Perrault’s apartment 184 times during the months of November and December of 2017. When confronted with this information, Schulz claimed that Perrault may have had his phone at this time. An examination of Schulz’s cell phone, however, showed that he had used his cell phone on November 8, 2017 to send a message to a friend of Perrault and this cell phone was recovered in a search of Schulz’s mother’s home in Eagan on March 13, 2018.
The police investigation also found that Perrault’s EBT Debit card had been used 20 times since she was last seen on November 1, 2017. Nine of these transactions occurred at a Super America in Burnsville and it was learned that a Super America Rewards card matching the account of Schulz was used in conjunction with these transactions. Schulz told police he had not used his Super America Rewards card in over a year. During a later search of Schulz’s living area at Cochran house, where he was residing in March of 2018, police located this Super America Rewards card. On December 1, 2017, Schulz claimed he was picked up at his mom’s house by a guy named "Troy" who introduced himself as Perrault’s friend. Schulz claimed that "Troy" had Perrault’s EBT card and represented that Perrault wanted Schulz to do her a favor and withdraw cash from an ATM and purchase a $61 money order. Schulz claimed that he did so and returned the card to "Troy", who then drove him home. The police investigation determined that no money order was purchased with Perrault’s EBT card.
When questioned about Perrault’s apartment, Schulz said that she was always drinking and spilling stuff. He went on to offer an unsolicited and elaborate story about how he had left the apartment on a Sunday in September of 2017 to purchase wine for Perrault and that Perrault grew impatient while he was gone, obtained a bottle of red wine from a neighbor, and spilled two glasses of the wine in her bedroom. He told police that as a result, there was a big stain on the bedroom carpet, which was still present on November 1, 2017.
When Schulz was questioned as to why Perrault’s blood was found in the trunk of the car he was driving in the fall of 2017, he stated that the only way that could have happened is when she was bleeding when he picked her up from the hospital and they put some of her stuff in the trunk. The investigation revealed that Perrault had been in Fairview Hospital in Burnsville in September of 2017, but a doctor who reviewed her records from this hospital visit was of the opinion that there was nothing to indicate any significant bleeding at the time of her discharge from the hospital.
When questioned by police, Schulz denied returning to Perrault’s apartment after November 1, 2017, and denied removing any of her things from her apartment. Police interviewed a witness who said that he had observed Schulz moving items out of Perrault’s apartment over the course of two days which he believed was sometime in October of 2017. This witness said he saw Schulz remove and throw "bags of stuff" and possibly clothing along with pictures and other items, into a garbage dumpster of the apartment complex. Another witness told police that she also saw a white male (later identified as Schulz) moving items from Perrault’s apartment. The witness believed this was sometime in late October of 2017.
This same witness also reported that she heard a loud "boom" from Perrault’s apartment possibly in the second or third week of October 2017. The witness said that the "boom" was so loud that it shook the lamps in her apartment in the same complex. She said it was two or three days after this "boom" that she saw Schulz moving things out of Perrault’s apartment. The witness said she did not recall seeing Perrault after this incident.
The investigation revealed that no other tenants had resided in Perrault’s apartment prior to its search on February 28, 2018.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint, which is available online at:
Criminal Complaint Search. If in custody, mug shots can be viewed at: Inmate Search.
Schulz will make his first court appearance on this charge on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. in Hastings.
Backstrom commented: "On behalf of everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case, I wish to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Elizabeth Perrault."
Backstrom thanked the Burnsville Police Department for their thorough investigation that has resulted in this murder charge and thanked the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in recovering the victim’s body from the water.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.
*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant/suspect is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.