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Who killed Stephanie Crone-Overholts? Body parts of woman, 47, wash up on Florida bay

Robert Kessler, 69, stands accused of murder for allegedly killing and dismembering 47-year-old Stephanie Crone-Overholts
Stephanie Crone-Overholts' car was found abandoned, with bloodstains inside the vehicle (Tampa Police Department)
Stephanie Crone-Overholts' car was found abandoned, with bloodstains inside the vehicle (Tampa Police Department)

TAMPA, FLORIDA: A Florida man has been accused of murdering Stephanie Crone-Overholts, 47, who disappeared earlier this month. The dismembered body of Stephanie was found in a bay, following which Robert Kessler, 69, has been charged with second-degree murder and abuse of a dead body, Interim Chief Ruben Delgado of the Tampa Police Department announced.

A human leg was first discovered from McKay Bay near the 22nd Street Causeway Bridge on November 11. The next day, more body parts were found in the same area. An image of the victim's tattoo was released by Tampa police in an attempt to identify the remains. The tattoo, located below the lower right calf, featured three hearts with the names Sean, Greg and Zach. There have been other horrific cases of victims being dismembered. In August, Brian Williams an Indiana man, 36, decapitated a woman and set fire to her house and in November this year, Bailey Boswell who helped her boyfriend hack victim into 14 pieces was sentenced to a life term


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Stephanie's family got in touch with Tampa authorities after spotting the tattoo on the news. Police said that Stephanie had recently relocated from Erie, Pa., to Lutz, Fla., in the Tampa area, and was staying with Kessler. Her family reported her missing some weeks ago. During the investigation, Kessler claimed that they had been living together but she had apparently left a few weeks earlier. Upon investigating the case, authorities found that Kessler's claims did not add up. 

Suspect Robert Kessler (Tampa Police Department)

Stephanie's car was later found abandoned, with bloodstains inside the vehicle. Delgado said that more blood was found inside the residence after authorities obtained a search warrant and subsequently searched Kessler's home. 

Sean Overholts, Stephanie's son, had released a statement earlier this month, saying, "This has been a living nightmare. It is unimaginable what she went through. My mother will be deeply missed," the Tampa Bay Times reported. The motive behind the murder is still unknown, and how Stephanie died or how long her body was in the water has not been revealed. 

The nature of Kessler and Stephanie's relationship has not been disclosed by authorities. According to Kessler, he had invited Stephanie to stay with him after meeting her at a fast-food restaurant. Kessler had learned that she was living out of her car.

Who is Robert Kessler?

When Kessler was charged with Stephanie's murder, he was already in jail on a drug charge. Florida Department of Law Enforcement records found that the suspect has faced criminal charges on some 40 occasions since 1986, mainly involving the sale of cocaine and related offenses in the Tampa Bay area, and has been sentenced to state prison at least four times. He had even been sentenced for as long as seven years. The investigation, Delgado said, involved help from the sheriff’s offices in Pasco and Pinellas counties, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Kessler has denied responsibility for the killing.