A woman identified in media reports as Geraldine DiMarzio Kelley, who died of cancer last Friday at age 54, told her daughter that she killed husband John Kelley while the couple lived in California.
Authorities did not release the names.
They say the daughter called the police, who went to the Planet Self Storage facility in Somerville on Thursday and found the remains inside an unplugged freezer that was locked, sealed with duct tape, with an odor coming from the freezer.
"There was an indication made that the mother in fact had committed a homicide and the father's remains had been sealed in a freezer, a locked freezer, which had been shipped to (the storage facility)," said Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley. "It's very bizarre."
Coakley says the woman shipped the freezer, with her husband's body inside, from California to Somerville six years ago when she moved back to Massachusetts. The couple is believed to have lived in Ventura County, California.
But the slaying may have taken place up to 14 years ago. That's when the woman apparently began telling her children that their father had been killed in a car accident, according to Coakley and Tami DiMarzio, the woman's sister.
"She told me he took off in the car and last she heard he had an accident, that he was hit by a truck or something. It was in Nevada," Tami DiMarzio told WBZ-TV.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and approximate time of death.
"She believes she was a victim of domestic violence," Coakley said. "Whether that is accurate, we just have no idea at this time."
Ventura, Calif., police said they've been contacted by Massachusetts investigators about assisting with the investigation.