'Unimaginable What She Went Through': After Body of Fla. Mom Is Found in Bay, Man Is Arrested

Robert Kessler has been charged with second-degree murder and abuse of a dead body

Stephanie Crone-Overholts
Stephanie Crone-Overholts. Photo: Tampa Police Department

A Florida man is accused of murdering a woman who vanished before her dismembered body was found in a bay earlier this month.

Robert Kessler has been charged with second-degree murder and abuse of a dead body in the death of Stephanie Crone-Overholts, Interim Chief Ruben Delgado of the Tampa Police Department announced at a news conference last Wednesday.

On Nov. 11, a human leg was first recovered from McKay Bay near the 22nd Street Causeway Bridge. More parts were found in the same area of the bay the following day.

Tampa police released an image of the victim's tattoo, in hopes of identifying the remains. The tattoo was located below the lower right calf, featuring three hearts with the names Sean, Greg and Zach.

When Crone-Overholts's family in Pennsylvania saw the image of her tattoo on the news, they contacted Tampa authorities.

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According to police, Crone-Overholts had recently relocated from Erie, Pa., to Lutz, Fla., in the Tampa area. She had been staying with Kessler when her family reported her missing.

When investigators spoke with Kessler, he told them Crone-Overholts had been staying with him but had left a few weeks earlier. However, authorities say they investigated Kessler's story and that it didn't add up.

Days later, Crone-Overholts's car was found abandoned. Investigators discovered blood inside the vehicle. After obtaining a search warrant for Kessler's home, investigators found more of her blood inside the residence, Delgado said.

Earlier this month, Crone-Overholt's son, Sean Overholts, released a statement saying, "This has been a living nightmare. It is unimaginable what she went through. My mother will be deeply missed," the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Delgado did not reveal how Crone-Overholt died or how long her body was in the water. A motive remains unknown.

Authorities did not disclose the nature of the relationship between Crone-Overholts and Kessler. Kessler had told investigators he invited Crone-Overholts to stay with him after meeting her at a fast food restaurant and learning she was living out of her car.

Kessler was already behind bars on a drug charge when he was charged with Crone-Overholts' murder. It is unclear whether he has an attorney to comment on his behalf.

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