Officials announced that a Florida man was arrested and charged with the murder of a mother-of-two from Florida. His dismembered remains had been found last month by a Tampa fisherman.
Robert Lee Kessler, 69, has been charged with second-degree murder and abuse of a dead body in the death of 47-year-old Stephanie Crone-Overholts, Interim Tampa Police Chief Ruben Delgado said during a ConferenceWednesday
Delgado reported that Kessler had been in custody for an unrelated drug offense and was being booked Wednesday on murder and abuse charges.
Salkenburg Jail is holding him at the moment. His bond is $2,500 for possession of cocaine with intent to sell and deliver, $7,500 for abuse of a dead body, and no bond for murder in the second degree, a deputy from the Hillsborough County Jail told Inside Editon Digital.
On Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Hillsborough County Court, he is scheduled for an in-person pre-trial detention hearing, Hillsborough County Public Information Officer Mike Moore told Inside Edition Digital.
Moore stated that Kessler will also be represented by the public defense attorney.
During the press conference, Delgado said Crone-Overholts recently relocated to Lutz, Florida from Erie, Pennsylvania. Kessler had first met her at a fast-food joint. Delgado said Kessler had a history of drug activity and had been in prison several times.
He said it was unclear how many months Crone-Overholts had been living in Florida before meeting Kessler.
On Nov. 11, Erie Police Department Police Chief Daniel Spizarny told Inside Edition Digital that Crone-Overholts mother filed a missiong person’s report. Spizarny said Crone-Overholts mother told officers that “she received a text message from her daughter saying that she needed help, there had not been any response after that.”
That same day, a local fisherman found a woman’s leg on McKay Beach, in the area of 22nd Causeway Bridge, and immediately contacted police, Inside Edition Digital previously reported.
A report stated that additional parts were discovered in McKay Bay on November 12, 2012.
The victim had a tattoo on her lower leg of three hearts with a ribbon around each with the names Sean, Greg, and Zach. Officials from Tampa Police asked anyone who recognizes the tattoos to call police.
The photo became viral and the Crone-Overholts families recognized it as their loved one.
During the investigation, Delgado said detectives learned that Crone-Overholts had disappeared during her stay at Robert Kessler’s home in Lutz, Fl. On Nov. 14, detectives visited the address and spoke with Kessler.
Investigators were told by Kessler that he met Crone-Overholts in a McDonald’s parking lot. He said they started talking since Kessler once lived in Erie, Pa. He told detectives that Crone-Overholts had been living out of her car, and that he offered her a place to stay, WFLA reported previously.
“Me and my little girl met her and she had a Pennsylvania plate and was in her car, and it was obvious to see that she was homeless and stayed in her car, and she explained to me that her ankles swell up because she slept in her car.”
Kessler continued: “I just invited her to stay because I have three bedrooms and two baths, and she was from Erie, Pennsylvania, and I had worked for the City of Erie one time 40 years ago,”He stated.
Delgado said during the news conference that evidence that was recovered indicated that Kessler had been lying.
Two days after speaking with Kessler about Crone-Overholts’ car, a 2008 silver Hyundai Elantra sedan, authorities discovered it abandoned. The car contained her blood. Additional evidence was found in the vehicle and sent to officials at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, officials stated.
Detectives obtained a warrant for Kessler to search his van and house on November 19th. Kessler claimed he didn’t know what happened to Crone Overholts, as WFLA reported previously.
The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner confirmed Crone-Overholts’ murder the next day. Rose Angelakopoulos, Tampa Bay Public Information Officer, previously stated Inside Edition Digital
Officials stated that it was not clear when Crone-Overholts died. The manner in which she died was not disclosed. The case is an active investigation.
Authorities didn’t disclose the nature or relationship between Crone and Overholts & Kessler.
Delgado stated that “detectives still have a lot of work to do.” “We are confident we have the right guy off the street. Anyone with information or who may who saw them together would be helpful.”
Sean Crone-Overholts, Crone’s older son, spoke to the Tampa Bay Times That “this has been a living nightmare,”Said “it is unimaginable what she [his mother] went through.”
“She did not deserve what happened to her,” Sean said upon hearing the news of the arrest of Kessler, WFLA reported
According to him, his mother was not always the best in her decisions but she loved her family.