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Sunday 23 June, 2024
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Daniel Stearns shot girlfriend Nancy Howery and burned corpse

BY Anas Shah Mar 14, 2023. 11:22 pm UPDATED: Mar 14, 2023. 11:22 pm

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After an argument, a Florida man is accused of shooting his girlfriend and leaving her to die in the woods, only to return days later, burn her body, and scatter her remains around a massive undeveloped property in Palm Bay.

According to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, investigators saw the suspect, Daniel Stearns, 32, attempting to bury some of the remains.

“The suspect returned to the scene of the crime and then burned the victim’s body in an effort to destroy any evidence connecting him to the murder,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “After burning the body, the perpetrator took the charred remains of the victim and scattered them in several locations, including burying them in multiple areas of the Compound.”

Nancy Howery, 44, was reported missing from Indian Harbour Beach on February 18 by her ex-husband and two children. She had failed to pick up her children from school three days before.

On February 19, police discovered her car abandoned near the Compound.

According to Palm Bay officials, the Compound is a 12.2-square-mile plot of privately owned, undeveloped land that trespassers frequently use for recreational purposes.

“This case took a sad turn from missing person to homicide,” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey told reporters at a news briefing after Stearns’ arrest.

Daniel Stearns

Ivey said Howery and Stearns met on social media, and a friend who last saw her on Feb. 15 said she was supposed to meet up with him after their encounter.

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However, when police interviewed him, he allegedly made obviously deceptive statements “and truly identified himself as a prime suspect,” according to Ivey.

“They were able, while they were surveilling him, to determine that he was burying the body,” Ivey said.

Howery’s remains had been burned in an effort to destroy evidence, the sheriff said.

Stearns is behind held without bond at the Brevard County Jail on charges of second-degree murder with a firearm, mutilation of a dead body, and evidence tampering.

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