Florida man, 49, arrested after ‘burning’ ex-wife while she went to collect her things
A Florida bodybuilder and former Marine has been charged with murdering his ex-wife when she visited him to pick up some of her belongings, then burned her body in an oil drum in the backyard.
Ian Christopher Baunach, 43, appeared in court in Tampa Monday and pleaded not guilty to the murder of Katie Baunach, the 39-year-old mother of his two children.
In November 2021, Baunach, a former Marine retrained as an engineer, was arrested on charges of household battery by strangulation and was released the same day with $25,000 bail.
Ten months later, in September this year, Katie Baunach issued a restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing one of their children.
She was last seen on September 29 when she left the two youths with a friend, saying that Baunach had said she could come by to “pick up some of her personal items.”
She told the friend she would be back soon, but never returned.
Ian Baunach, 43, is accused of killing his ex-wife Katie, 39, on September 29
Baunach, a former Marine, was a dedicated bodybuilder
Police were called and went to his home in LaBelle, 30 miles inland from Fort Myers, on Sept. 30, to find that he was not at home.
Her car was parked outside.
When they returned shortly afterwards, they saw that the car had been moved and were given a search warrant to search the property – after Baunach refused to let them in.
Inside the house, detectives found traces of a struggle and bloodstains, which he said came from groceries.
Katie Baunach’s engagement ring and wedding ring were found in a safe.
According to the indictment, officers also found an AR-15 upper receiver and 13 silencers in the safe, along with a Glock Model 27 .40 caliber handgun in a plastic bag on a bookshelf.
There were three rifles and a shotgun in an attic above the garage, and Baunach had another .40 caliber Glock with him.
The officers then found human remains outside.
Katie Baunach told friends she went to her ex’s house to pick up some things, but never returned
Police found guns, silencers and human remains in Baunach’s house
According to court documents, “they discovered the fragment of a human lower jaw with an intact tooth in a fresh pyre, and discovered a fifty-gallon blue barrel near the pyre that reeked of rotting flesh.”
“Police discovered another fragment of human bone in the 50-gallon blue barrel. Law enforcement officers have discovered other suspected human bone fragments in the vicinity of the pyre.”
Baunach denied killing his ex-wife, telling them that there was no body and that she had disappeared.
He admitted that he had gotten into an argument with her, being “over another woman.”
Baunach “admitted that he was angry that Katie Baunach had applied for and received a domestic violence warrant against him.”
He claimed he was going to sleep, and by the time he woke up in the morning, she was gone.
He said he then moved her car to the street.
“When asked about the blood found in the property, Baunach said he didn’t believe the officers.”
Baunach was taken into custody and charged with first degree murder; destruction/hiding of physical evidence, and cremation of a corpse 48 hours after death.
If convicted of first degree murder, he faces life or the death penalty.