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Man found dead in chest freezer was hiding from cops when he inadvertently locked himself inside appliance ‘not capable of being pushed open from inside’: Police

Brandon Lee Buschman

Brandon Lee Buschman

A 34-year-old Minnesota man who was found dead in a chest freezer late last month actually went into the large appliance on his own accord while trying to hide from police executing an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The victim found in the freezer was identified by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office as Brandon Lee Buschman, authorities announced.

According to a press release from the Gilbert Police Department, GPD officers at around 3:30 p.m. on June 26 responded to a 911 call regarding the discovery of a deceased adult male at a residence located in the 300 block of 4th Avenue North, which is about 200 miles north of Minneapolis. The caller said that they found the man’s body inside a chest freezer at the home.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders quickly located the body of the man — later identified as Buschman — inside of the freezer, which they said was located in the basement of the home. During the investigation, detectives said they learned that the appliance was “an older model” which had its latching mechanism on the outside of the freezer.

“When closed, the freezer is not capable of being pushed open from inside,” the release states. “The freezer was not on at the time of the discovery as there have been no utilities connected at the residence since April of 2022.”

Investigators looking into the circumstances of Buschman’s death conducted multiple interviews with his family and friends. From those interviews, police say they learned that Buschman had last been seen alive by others in the home when he was “fleeing from the upstairs area of the house due to a possible police presence near the residence.” He was supposedly fleeing because of an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Authorities reiterated that there was no foul play suspected in Buschman’s death and an autopsy performed by the medical examiner’s office showed no signs of injury or trauma to Buschman. A toxicology report will be available within the next couple of weeks.

“Evidence on the scene indicates that Buschman entered the freezer on his own accord,” the release states. “Investigators located a metal lawn ornament rod that was inserted from the inside of the freezer towards the latching mechanism. The rod was jammed between the gasket and the manufactured edge, preventing the rod from being able to manipulate the latching mechanism from the inside.”

It is not clear exactly when Buschman allegedly entered the freezer, but detectives say they are continuing their investigation and narrowing down the timeline regarding when Buschman was last seen alive.

Police said that the home had been unoccupied since the beginning of 2023 when it was foreclosed. However, GPD Lt. Chelsea Trucano reportedly told the News Tribune that investigators believe the residence remained “somewhat occupied” even after it was foreclosed.

It is currently unclear what the outstanding warrant for Buschman’s arrest was in reference to. The Gilbert Police Department did not immediately respond to a message from Law&Crime seeking additional details in the case.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.