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Florida bodybuilder Ian Baunach charged with ex’s murder after police find bones in backyard ‘burn pile’

A Florida bodybuilder is accused of killing and cremating his ex-wife after federal investigators say they found bone fragments in a 50-gallon drum on his property that “reeked of decaying flesh.”

Ian Christopher Baunach, 43, an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness competitor, faces a slew of charges, including first-degree premeditated murder, illegally cremating a body, drugs possession and violating federal firearms law.

Deputies allegedly found stockpiles of both steroids and unregistered silencers when they searched his house for missing ex-wife Katie Baunach, who was a 39-year-old nurse, according to a Facebook profile. The couple shared two children, according to investigators.

On Sept. 30, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office received a report that Katie Baunach was missing, according to court documents. Prior to her disappearance, she accused her ex of physically abusing one of their children and obtained a restraining order, asking the court to send him for counseling.


The night before she went missing, she dropped her kids off at a friend’s house and said she was going to her ex’s house to pick up some of her belongings.

“This was the last time Katie Baunach was seen alive,” a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, wrote in a federal criminal complaint.

The next day, Hendry County deputies visited Ian Baunach’s home — and found the missing woman’s car parked in the driveway with her purse inside. They couldn’t find either of the Baunachs, however, and left. They came back for a second attempt and found Katie Baunach’s vehicle parked in a different spot — so they went to a judge for a search warrant.


“At approximately 1:00 p.m., law enforcement executed the search warrant at the Premises and discovered evidence that a homicide had occurred there,” the complaint reads.

They also found signs of blood in Ian Baunach’s trunk and other evidence of a physical struggle between the garage doorway and foyer after using the reactive chemical Luminol, according to the complaint. They found Katie Baunach’s wedding band and engagement ring — both of which her friend said she was wearing when she dropped off her kids — in a safe. Also in the safe were more than a dozen unregistered silencers, and throughout the home deputies found several firearms that were threaded to accommodate the silencers, according to the complaint.

Court records state that police also found 13 vials of steroids.

According to the complaint, Ian Baunach waived his Miranda rights and told detectives that his ex-wife showed up at his house, and they got into an argument over another woman. He said he “went to sleep because he did not want to argue, and when he woke up, Katie Baunach was gone,” according to the complaint.

When police asked him about the blood in his trunk and hallway, he allegedly told them they “did not have a body” and “disputed that she was actually a missing person.” He blamed the trunk on “groceries” and told police he didn’t believe they found blood in the hallway, the complaint states.

But when investigators searched the property, they said they found “a fresh burn pile” with part of a jawbone and a tooth. Nearby was a 50-gallon barrel, “which reeked of decaying flesh” and had another bone fragment inside.

Last year he faced a domestic battery by strangulation charge, although prosecutors ultimately dropped the case in January, court records show.

Baunach, at 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 250 pounds, competed in the IFBB Masters National Bodybuilding Championships in 2016, according to online competition records. The IFBB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He is being held without bail in the Hendry County Jail.

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