A Florida man is accused of fatally shooting a girl and burning her body a few days later.
A Florida man is accused of shooting his girlfriend during an argument and leaving her to die in the woods, returning a few days later to burn her corpse and scatter the remains.
Police investigators in Indian Harbor Beach witnessed Daniel Stearns, 32, trying to bury the burned remains of his girlfriend, Nancy Hoherty, 44.
“While they were watching him, they were able to determine that he was burying the body, and he actually burned the body to destroy any possible evidence,” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said during a press conference.
On February 18, three days after she failed to pick up her children from school, Howery was reported missing by her ex-husband and two children.
Her phone records showed she was last seen on Feb. 15 at a shooting club in Palm Bay, Police Chief David Butler said.
Hoherty was reportedly with a friend who told investigators that Hoherty was supposed to meet her boyfriend Stearns the same day she went missing.
Police found Howerty’s car abandoned near a place known as “The Compound,” an area often used for recreational activities.
According to Ivey, Howerty’s boyfriend made himself a suspect for police investigators early in the case.
On the two occasions he was questioned, Stearns revealed “significant areas of deceit and did identify himself as the prime suspect in the case”, prompting authorities to place him under round-the-clock surveillance.
Investigators followed him to The Compound, where they learned that there were actually five different crime scenes. During their observations, the researchers observed Sterns trying to scatter Howerty’s charred remains in several places.
Howerty’s remains were burned and scattered to destroy evidence, officials said.
Stearns was charged with second-degree murder with a gun, mutilating a dead body, and falsifying evidence in connection with Hoherty’s death.
He is being held without bail at the Brevard County Jail.
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