The man accused of murdering a Florida woman and leaving her dismembered body in a rural swamp knew his victim for more than two decades before brutally killing her, according to police.
Christopher Lee Takhvar, 43, was charged this week with the murder of Robin Lee Upson, weeks after cops arrested him in Texas for allegedly stealing her van, according to a statement from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office posted to Facebook on Monday.
Upson’s dismembered and decapitated torso was found June 11 in Ocala National Forest, after a hiker stumbled upon her mutilated remains, police said.
Stumped by the identity of the Jane Doe body, officials posted a photo of the woman’s tattoo of a robin, and Upson’s family stepped forward to identify her, according to police. Once officials made contact with the family, Upson's relatives told police that her friend, Takhvar, had recently borrowed the dead woman’s van before vanishing, police said.
A subsequent search of Upson’s home uncovered evidence that her killer had murdered and dismembered her there, according to the sheriff’s office. The van, meanwhile, was later found abandoned in Orlando, Florida, containing evidence that Takhvar had been the sole occupant of the vehicle prior to ditching it, police said.
Takhvar had been friends with Upson for more than 20 years, and was her business partner, according to WFST Tampa Bay.
Cops caught up with Takhvar on August 15, pulling him over on a warrant for allegedly stealing Upson’s car, police said. When Marion County detectives traveled to Texas to interview him, Takhvar told investigators that he had killed Upson in self-defense, and subsequently dismembered her. He told the cops he dumped her torso where it was found in Ocala National Forest, and admitted to burying her head, arms, and legs in the victim’s back yard, police said.
Investigators then searched Upson’s back yard, where they found the rest of her body, according to police.
Takhvar was extradited to Florida, where he’s been charged with second-degree murder and grand theft auto, police said.
He’s currently being held at Marion County Jail in Ocala, Florida, without bail, according to online records.
[Photo: Marion County Sheriff's Office]