The police raided the apartment the two used to share in Lyon, southwest France, after Guylene Collober, 51, confessed to her daughter on Tuesday that "something unfortunate" had happened to the 71-year-old Jean-Francois Poinard in 2008, The Globe and Mail reported today.
The daughter told police. When they arrived at the apartment, Collober collapsed in tears saying, "I think you'll find what you're looking for."
The body of Poinard, a retired restaurateur who was regarded as one of the country's best chefs in the 1970s and 1980s, was found in a fetal position wrapped in plastic bags, The Globe and Mail reported.
"An initial examination suggests it could have been there for up to two years," a police spokesman was quoted as saying by The Daily Mail, which said a full post-mortem would be carried out to find the exact cause of death.
According to various media reports, Collober was arrested and charged with hiding a body.
In its report from Paris, however, The Globe and Mail said Collober admitted beating Poinard to death and said she kept his body in the bathroom for a while before buying the freezer. According to the Lyon newspaper Le Progres, Collober faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if found guilty of his murder, and was scheduled to appear in court today.
Prosecutor Marc Desert was quoted as saying: "It was an altercation gone wrong. It would have been a banal affair if there hadn't been a cadaver lying in a freezer for two years."
The superintendent at the building where the two began sharing an apartment six years ago said she heard frequent arguments between the two, The Daily Mail reported, but didn't pay attention when the fights stopped.
"Because I hadn't seen Mr. Poinard for a year or two, I assumed they had split up," she was quoted as saying by The Globe and Mail.
Desert was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying Wednesday that Collober isolated Poinard from his family members and described Collober as someone "with pathological tendencies, narcissistic, possessive and violent."
Le Progres described Poinard as one of the city's "great names" in cooking, who was a "passionate and exacting chef, but also a true 'bon viveur' who was as well-liked out of the kitchen as he was respected inside it," The Daily Telegraph reported.
Poinard, who ran a number of restaurants in Lyon, which is regarded as the nation's culinary capital, was fourth in line in one of France's "great cooking dynasties," according to Le Progres.
Poinard's only son, Jean-Stephane Poinard, moved to Florida after a "dispute" distanced him from his father, and runs the Bistro de Leon restaurant in St. Augustine. According to a Progres report cited by Paris-Match, the son's relationship deteriorated because of his friendship with Collober.
AOL News was told by telephone that the son was "not available" to speak, and the call was not returned.