A Florida man accused of killing his ex-wife and burning her body on his five-acre property, plead not guilty.
Ian Baunach, 43, appeared in federal court on Monday and entered a not-guilty plea for the murder of Katie Baunach, 39, his two children’s mother.
Deputies said they received a missing person report for Katie Baunach, 39 on Sept. 30.
Deputies say a friend described last seeing her the day before and that she had gone to pickup her possessions from her ex-husband’s home, authorities said.
Katie left her two young children with that friend, but she did not return from her ex’s home.
Investigators say Katie Baunach and her ex-husband Ian Baunach’s relationship had a history of domestic violence.
In November 2021, Ian was charged with a count of committing domestic battery by strangulation. Prosecutors dropped the case on Jan. 31, 2022.
While investigating the missing person case, deputies say they arrived at the suspect’s property and found the victim’s car in his driveway.
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No one was home but deputies said they returned 45 minutes later to find that Katie’s car was moved, abandoned on the side of a road, and the driveway gate locked.
Investigators say Ian Baunach was “pacing around” and refused to let investigators inside. Authorities obtained a search warrant and detained Ian.
Deputies searched his home, but could not find Katie,
According to investigators, they found steroids, which Ian allegedly claimed were his.
Detectives said they later discovered Katie’s remains on the five-acre property.
During a four-day search of the property, investigators discovered the fragment of a human mandible with an intact tooth in a fresh burn pile and discovered a blue fifty-gallon barrel near the burn pile which reeked of decaying flesh, according to court documents.
The complaint states. “Inside the blue fifty-gallon barrel, law enforcement discovered an additional human bone fragment. Law enforcement discovered other suspected human bone fragments in the area surrounding the burn pile.”
On Oct. 10, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit charged Ian Christopher Baunach with 1st Degree Pre-Meditated Murder, Destruction/Conceal Physical Evidence, Use of a Two-Way Communication Device to Facilitate a Felony, Cremate Dead Body 48 hours after Death and Failure to Report Death to Medical Examiner.
In court in Tampa on Monday, Baunach entered a not-guilty plea for the murder of Katie Baunach.
Baunach faces the death penalty or life in prison if found guilty of first-degree murder.