Robert Kessler, of Lutz, was already in police custody on a drug charge when he was arrested and charged with the second-degree murder of Stephanie Crone-Overholts, Tampa Police Interim Chief Ruben Delgado said. Kessler is also charged with abuse of a dead body.
On Nov. 11, a fisherman discovered a leg bearing a tattoo of a trio of hearts with three names – Sean, Greg, and Zach -- in McKay Bay, near downtown Tampa, Fox affiliate WTVT-TV reported. Another fisherman discovered human remains in the bay the following day.
Authorities are not sure how long Overholts' body was in the water.
Overholts was staying with Kessler when her family reported her missing earlier this month. They contacted Tampa authorities after seeing her tattoo on the news, Delgado said.
Kessler told investigators he met Overholts at a fast-food restaurant where she said she was living out of her car. He invited her to stay with him, Delgado said.
Kessler said that Overholts had stayed with him but then disappeared several weeks prior, which was determined to be a lie, the chief said. During a search of her vehicle and Kessler's home, detectives found her blood, according to Delgado.
Kessler has been in prison several times, Delgado said, mostly for drug offenses.