Florida man charged with murder in connection with missing ex-wife after remains found in burn pile | #missingkids

A Florida man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his missing ex-wife, after human remains were found in a burn pile on his property, according to court documents.

Ian Christopher Baunach, 43, was charged Monday in Hendry County, Florida, in connection with the death of Katie Samantha Baunach, who was last seen Sept. 29, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office said.

He was further charged with 13 counts of drug possession, failure to report a death to the medical examiner and destroying evidence among other charges, booking records show. 

He was also federally charged in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida with possession of an unregistered firearm after authorities found 13 silencers in his home. 

A criminal complaint for the federal case reveals gruesome details of the alleged killing. 

Ex-wife filed domestic violence injunction before vanishing

Katie Baunach was last seen dropping off her two young children she shares with Ian Baunach at a friend’s house on Sept. 29 at 9 p.m., the complaint states.

She told the friend she was going to Ian Baunach’s home on Hidden Hammock Drive to retrieve some of her personal belongings, but did not return.

She was reported missing the following day to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.

Earlier in the month, she had reported to the sheriff’s office that Ian Baunach had physically abused one of her kids and she received an injunction for domestic violence against him on behalf of the child, the complaint said.

Katie Baunach. Katie Baunach via Facebook

Police discover blood in a vehicle, throughout the home

Law enforcement officers arrived to Ian Baunach’s home on Sept. 30 to search for Katie Baunach and found her car in the driveway with her purse inside. 

After failing to make contact with Ian Baunach, officers later returned and found her car had been moved from the driveway onto the street.

After receiving a search warrant the same day, law enforcement searched the home and “discovered evidence that a homicide had occurred there,” the complaint said.

Officials treated Ian Baunach’s car in the garage by applying luminal — a chemical that reacts to blood by glowing blood — and found that the interior of the truck “glowed blue” after treatment, court documents said.

Authorities also found “signs of a physical struggle” in a hallway between the garage and foyer to the home, noticing wall damage and a broken wall mounted mirror inside an office.

When treated with luminal, three different walls of the home, including the hallway, glowed blue, the filing said.

Authorities also found a safe with Katie Baunach’s wedding band and engagement ring inside. Officers said that they learned she had been wearing the wedding band and engagement ring when she left her friend’s house Sept. 29.

Officials also encountered a cache of weapons — an AR-15 rifle upper receiver, 13 silencers of various configurations, two Glock pistols, and three rifles and a shotgun in the attic above the garage with two of those rifles compatible with silencers, according to the complaint.

In an interview with Ian Baunach on Oct. 1, he denied Katie was a missing person, claimed that blood found in his car was from transporting groceries, and said he didn’t believe officers found blood in his home.

He did, however, admit “to being angry that Katie Baunach filed for and received a domestic violence injunction against him,” the complaint said.

He told officers that she contacted him Sept. 29, saying she needed gas for her car. When she arrived to his home they argued over another woman and he went to bed. When he woke up, she was gone, he told officers, according to the complaint.

Human remains found in burn pile and barrel

A search of the grounds of his property was conducted Oct. 1 and led to the discovery of “the fragments of a human mandible with an intact tooth in a fresh burn pile,” the complaint said.

Authorities also discovered a blue 50-gallon barrel near the burn pile “which reeked of decaying flesh,” the filing said.  

Inside the barrel, officers found an additional human bone fragment and found other suspected human bone fragments in the area surrounding the burn pile.

Baunach was initially arrested Oct. 1 on 13 drug charges relating to steroids found in his home, according to court records.

After the remains were found on the property and determined to belong to Katie, he was charged Monday with first-degree murder, as well as destruction/conceal of physical evidence, use of two-way communication device to facilitate a felony, cremate dead body 48 hours after death and failure to report a death to the medical examiner. 

The federal complaint said that the ATF Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division analyzed photographs of the 13 silencers and determined they were subject to regulation.

The ATF did a records check and found that Baunach had not registered the silencers under the National Firearms Act, did not receive a tax stamp as required by law, and did not have a Federal Firearms License, culminating with the federal charge.

On Tuesday, he was appointed a public defender and ordered to be held in jail. His preliminary hearing will be held Oct 20 or Oct. 21 in Fort Myers, a judge ordered. His attorney did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment.

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