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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — One week after the arrest of local artist Benjamin Beale, better known within the New Orleans abstract art scene and “Burner” community as Kelley Kirkpatrick, the investigation continues into the gruesome discovery of the dismembered body of a 36-year-old Slidell mother of two.

Beale, who was booked Friday on the second-degree murder of Julie Dardar, had his bail increased from $400,000 to S1.4 million by Orleans Parish Magistrate Commissioner Albert Thibodeaux due to the grisly nature of the victim being beaten and strangled before being brutally butchered with a power saw and her dismembered body being stored in a freezer inside what appeared to be an old school bus-turned-mobile art project.

The horrific finding at 2327 Pauline Street – a home purchased by Beale for $127,000 on Oct. 27, 2020 – came after New Orleans Police Department executed a search warrant at the Ninth Ward neighborhood home address.

Dardar, who was reported missing on Dec. 23 by her estranged husband, Micah Dardar, in a desperate plea for help to find his ex who he claimed was suffering from addiction and mental health issues at the time of her disappearance.

His impassioned email to WGNO and other local news outlets chillingly read:

My estranged wife is missing from New Orleans. I live in Slidell with our two teenage daughters. Her name is Julia Dardar. She is a 36 year old white female (7/19/1985) that was staying with a man named Benjamin Beale at 2327 Pauline St. I was informed by a third party on December 20th that she came up missing from his house in the previous days. I contacted NOPD for a welfare check on December 23rd. NOPD Report L-27583-21 Officer L. Tillery 5th District NOPD. They determined that she was missing. The man said she had been missing for some time, possibly since December 12th or so but failed to report it. Her car was left at his house and he was using it as his own until turning it over. Any help reporting this and getting her name and face out to try to be located would be appreciated. We hope to find her alive, but it’s not looking good at the moment. She is suffering from addiction and mental health issues and needs help. Sincerely,

Micah Dardar

In the meantime, a GoFundMe fundraising page entitled “Justice for Julia” has been organized by Micah Dardar to help cover funeral expenses and other costs associated with supporting his two teenage daughters, ages 13 and 17, in a single-parent household.

So far, $1,120 of the page’s $100K goal has been reached.

A rally and press conference has also been scheduled for Tuesday morning on the steps of New Orleans City Hall.

Micah Dardar confirmed the cause of death with WGNO on Monday evening and said the final report could take as long as three months from the time of the autopsy to be released.

Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Beale sits in the Orleans Parish Justice Center facing life in prison as well as additional punishments related to the following charges:

  • Obstruction of Justice in a Death Investigation
  • Illegally carrying a weapon while in possession of CDS (controlled dangerous substance)
  • Creating/Operating Clandestine Drug Lab
  • Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine