Florida Man Kills, Dismembers, & Burns Body of Woman He Met on Dating Site

Daniel Loren Stearns, 32, has been arrested by Brevard County Sheriff’s investigators for allegedly dismembering and burning the body of Nancy Howery, 44, of Indian Harbour, a woman he met on a dating site.

Howery was reported missing by her ex-husband in Mid-February after she failed to pick up her children at school.

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Daniel Stearns

Detectives with the Indian Harbour Beach Police investigated Howery’s disappearance. They found evidence that she was likely a “victim of foul play “and that the incident occurred in Brevard County, outside their jurisdiction, and turned the case over to the sheriff’s office.

BCSO detectives took over the investigation into Howery’s disappearance. They quickly identified Stearns as a person of interest after a witness told detectives that he saw Howery on Feb. 15, and she said she was going to meet Stearns in Palm Bay.

Investigators learned Stearns and Howery first met through a dating app and began a relationship. It was discovered that on Feb.15, the couple had a heated argument, and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office started to surveilling Stearns.

According to a BCSO Press release,

“During the early morning hours of March 9, 2023, Stearns was observed leaving his residence and traveling into an undeveloped wooded area in Palm Bay commonly referred to as ‘The Compound,’” “While in the area, Stearns was observed attempting to dispose of evidence.  He was then detained by members of the BCSO Game Over Task Force.”

Homicide detectives and crime scene investigators responded to “The Compound.” They searched the area where authorities say they recovered human remains, which authorities say they believe to be Howery. However, additional forensic tests will be needed to make a final determination.

Investigators said that during the Feb. 15 argument between the couple, Stearns fatally shot Howery, then tried to get rid of the evidence.

“During the argument, Stearns allegedly shot Howery, which resulted in her death,” the release states. “Over the next few days, Stearns allegedly dismembered and burned the body, burying the remains in several different locations.”

During Friday’s press conference, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said five crime scenes were within “The Compound.” He also noted that investigators with the Palm Bay Police Department and BCSO had interviewed Stearns before setting up the surveillance teams.

“In both of those interviews, [Stearns] showed significant areas of deception and truly identified himself as a prime suspect in the case,” Ivey said.

Following his arrest, Stearns “not only confessed to the murder but also to trying to destroy the body by burning it,” Ivey said, adding, “This is a horrific individual.”

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Stearns was taken into custody and charged with one count each of second-degree murder, abuse of a dead human body, and tampering with evidence in a criminal proceeding. He is currently being held in the Brevard County Jail without bond.

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