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A Florida woman whose husband went missing nearly half a decade ago has been accused of killing him, burying his body in a makeshift grave, and then sealing it with cement, and building a fire pit over it.
Laurie Shaver, 37, has been charged with second-degree homicide and accessory after the fact in the slaying of her husband, Michael Shaver, whose skeletal remains were excavated from their five-acre property in Clermont in 2018.
“From day one Laurie Shaver was our sole suspect and she remains our sole suspect to this day,” Lt. David Herrell, a spokesperson for Lake County Sheriff's Office, told Oxygen.com.
Travis Filmer, who dated Laurie in the aftermath of her husband’s disappearance, provided police with some of the most damning alleged evidence against the 37-year-old.
“'It’s not that he’s missing,” Filmer recalled Laurie telling him of her husband, according to the probable cause statement obtained by Oxygen.com. “He’s no longer walking this Earth.’”
In 2016, Filmer bought 42 bags of concrete mix. He allegedly helped Laurie install the concrete fire pit. Afterward, Laurie posted photos of the finished outdoor project on Facebook. The couple later married and the newlyweds’ initials were found etched into the concrete above Michael Shaver’s remains, detectives said.
Filmer, who began dating Laurie in 2016, said his girlfriend initially told him she was “divorced.” He later claimed she admitted “something bad happened,” and that there was a corpse on the property, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Michael Shaver, was last seen on Nov. 7, 2015. Following his disappearance, however, friends, family, and co-workers received hundreds of cryptic messages on social media and by text purporting to be from the missing man.
Detectives now believe, however, that Laurie authored the messages to give the illusion he was still alive.
“Laurie claimed to have seen and talked to Michael and assumed his identity on Facebook, Facebook Messenger and text in order to convince family and friends he was still alive, a ruse which did not benefit her in any way other than prolonging the discovery of his homicide,” detectives said in the affidavit.
In one instance, Michael’s boss received a message informing him he was abruptly “quitting,” the probable cause affidavit alleged.
“I’m having issues at home, in GA right now,” a text sent to his employer stated. “Just fire me or I’ll quit. I will not be returning anytime soon.”
The man’s family, too, received similarly puzzling messages.
“Everyone just needs to leave me alone just like they did my entire life,” Laurie, allegedly posing as Michael, wrote her husband’s sister on Facebook after she confronted him as to his whereabouts.
On Jan. 2, 2018, weeks before Michael Shaver’s decomposed body turned up, the social media account was allegedly updated a final time. The IP address of many of the posts were later traced back to Laurie Shaver, according to detectives.
Laurie also allegedly used other means to pose as her dead husband. Days after Michael is believed to have vanished, Laurie mailed herself a postcard with her husband’s photograph, claiming he was in Orlando, authorities said. The post card contained the message, “tell the kids I love them see you soon.”
Investigators allege Laurie drained Michael’s bank account and sold his belongings, including expensive work equipment, a tractor and a trucks. For years, she claimed Michael was stalking her and had been living everywhere from Georgia, to New York, and California, according to detectives.
Michael Shaver was officially reported missing approximately three years after his death. A concerned friend, who found Laurie’s story suspicious, approached authorities in 2018.
During a welfare check, Laurie allegedly told deputies that Michael had “left” the family and took off to Georgia “in a black SUV,” the probable cause affidavit stated. She consented to a search but asked law enforcement to leave after they requested permission to search the concrete fire pit slab using cadaver dogs.
Michael Shaver’s partially clothed body was later found in the shallow grave beneath the cement slab. Detectives suspect he was killed between Nov. 7 and Nov. 10, 2015. Blood spatter patterns were also found at the property; however, forensics couldn’t positively identify, nor could they rule out, whether the genetic material belonged to Michael Shaver.
The cause and manner of Michael Shaver’s death was redacted from the probable cause affidavit.
Prior to his disappearance, Michael’s co-workers also attested to seeing bruises on his face, arms, and chest. Michael told one co-worker Laurie “got irate,” “blew up,” and punched him with “closed fists,” the affidavit stated.
Authorities suspect Michael Shaver’s slaying is domestic violence-related but refrained from releasing a particular motive.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss any potential motive they are considering,” Herrell, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said.
He added that investigators are “keeping some details close to their chest.”
Other co-workers also turned over text messages to investigators sent by Michael Shaver shortly before he disappeared in which the murdered man implied his wife intended to cash in on his life insurance policy, according to authorities.
“She wants my life insurance,” Michael allegedly told an acquaintance of Laurie in either 2014 or 2015, according to the probable cause affidavit.
“She’s gotta kill ya first,” the co-worker responded.
Michael Shaver replied, “she tried to yesterday I’m sure.”
However, Jeffrey Wiggs, Laurie Shaver’s defense attorney, stated that the former couple never had life insurance.
“There was no policy to collect on," Wiggs told Oxygen.com. She didn’t gain a single cent in this incident.”
Wiggs, who described the allegations against his client as "inaccurate," argued that investigators failed to look into other potential suspects in the case.
“She did not commit the crime. There’s other people that law enforcement has failed to look at," the lawyer said. "There’s time periods that the state has tried to narrow down to try to make Ms. Shaver look like the culpable party.”
In September 2014, Laurie Shaver filed for an injunction for a temporary court protective order against her husband related to domestic violence accusations, additional court records show.
Shaver is being held without bond at a Lake County jail. She made her first court appearance on Friday, according to county prosecutors.
“We’re at a point now where we hope and pray that at least to some degree, this can bring the family and friends some closure,” Herrell said.
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