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A Florida bodybuilder was jailed on murder charges after his ex-wife’s scorched remains were found in his backyard.
Ian Christopher Baunach, 43, was charged on Tuesday with the murder of former spouse, Katie Baunach, who vanished late last month, according to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.
On Sept. 30, deputies were dispatched to Ian Baunach’s Hendry County home after a friend of Katie Baunach reported that she was worried for the Florida woman’s safety. The friend disclosed that the night before, Katie Baunach had left her two children in her care to go pick up some personal belongings from Ian Baunach’s property.
It was the last time the 39-year-old woman was seen alive.
Upon arrival at Ian Baunach’s home, law enforcement located Katie Baunach’s vehicle in the driveway. Her purse was also visible inside the vehicle. The car, police said, was later moved onto the street when police were unable to make contact with anyone inside the property.
The same day, authorities uncovered evidence a homicide had occurred at Ian Baunach’s home, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com. After executing a search warrant, blood evidence was found inside the trunk of his vehicle parked in the garage, as well as throughout the home. Signs of a physical struggle, including wall damage and a broken mirror, were also present inside the premises.
Additionally, Katie Baunach’s wedding and engagement rings were found in a safe at her ex-husband’s home. The woman’s friend divulged to authorities that she’d been wearing both rings prior to going to Ian Baunach’s house.
Investigators also recovered a large amount of illegal steroids inside the residence. The 43-year-old, who admitted the steroids were his, was ultimately taken into custody and charged with 13 counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.
Investigators didn't immediately locate any human remains at the Florida home.
On Oct. 1, detectives, who returned to Ian Baunach’s property with a second search warrant, made a “gruesome” discovery. In the backyard, detectives found a human tooth and jawbone fragment in what they described as a “fresh burn pile.” A nearby 50-gallon blue barrel, which detectives said “reeked of decaying flesh,” also contained human bone fragments. Additional skeletal remains were found in the area surrounding the burn pile as well.
Under questioning, Ian Baunach denied killing his ex-wife. He told detectives he and Katie Baunach got into an argument “over another woman” the night she vanished. Ian Baunach claimed he later went to sleep and awoke to discover Katie Baunach had left.
According to investigators Katie Baunach had secured a restraining order in September against her ex-husband, who she accused of physically abusing one of her children, per the case’s complaint. In a police interview, Ian Baunach confessed he was “angry that Katie Baunach filed for and received a domestic violence injunction against him,” case records show.
According to The Daily Beast, Ian Baunach was previously arrested for once strangling his then-wife.
“It’s somehow equally shocking, and not completely surprising,” Annie Moore, Katie’s cousin, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “Like… he’s not a good person, and we’ve known that. But it’s still, like, a surreal thing. And the fact that we can’t pick up the phone and call her will not be real for a long time.”
Detectives also seized 13 illegal silencers and a cache of firearms, including an AR-15 upper receiver, two Glock .40 caliber pistols, three rifles and a shotgun from Ian Baunach’s home. Ian Baunach allegedly admitted to owning the silencers, but “disputed they were actually silencers,” the case’s complaint alleged. He’s been charged federally with 13 counts of possession of an unregistered firearm.
Baunach is a former U.S. Marine, per The Daily Beast’s report.
No other information was released by officials. George Ellis Summers Jr., Ian Baunach’s federal public defender, declined to comment on the case when contacted by Oxygen.com on Friday afternoon. He doesn’t yet appear to have entered a plea on his client's behalf, court filings show.
Baunach is being held without bond at a Hendry County detention center pending trial, according to online jail records. Attorney information wasn’t immediately available for him.
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