TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (FOX 13) - Police in Tarpon Springs have identified the victims and suspect in this week’s triple murder, and now they say the suspect’s wife is still missing “under suspicious circumstances.”
According to police, 71-year-old Richard Ivancic and his wife, 59-year-old Laura, were found murdered in their Juanita Way home on New Year’s Day. Their live-in son, 25-year-old Nicholas, was also killed there.
Officers found the three victims after being called to the home for a welfare check. Investigators said the bodies were in a state of "advanced decomposition" and three dogs – Buddy, Boomer, and Bailey –were also found dead amidst an “extensive” crime scene.
At the time, investigators did not publicly name a suspect but they were adamant that it was not a random crime.
Maj. Jeff Young of Tarpon Springs police explained Friday that witness accounts of a short man digging a ditch in the home's yard led police to suspect the couple's 25-year-old son-in-law, Shelby John Nealy, who lives in Lakewood, Ohio.
Thursday night, police in Lakewood, found the SUV missing from the family’s home and took Nealy into custody.
Police said Nealy, who also uses the alias of Shelby Svensen, is the husband of the Ivancics’ daughter Jamie. Jamie Ivancic herself is missing under what police described only as “suspicious circumstances” and they have issued a missing-persons alert for the 21-year-old.
"We do fear that she, too, is a victim of foul play," offered Maj. Young.
Nealy (Svensen) has been charged in Ohio with receiving stolen property for being in possession of Laura Ivancic's SUV. But he was also being held on an outstanding domestic violence warrant from neighboring Broadview Heights.
His two children, ages 3 and 2, were taken into protective custody after he was arrested.
Nealy has admitted to the murders, Young said.
"This has been an exhausting few days for everyone," Young added. "Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of the Ivancics."
Investigators did not immediately suggest a motive for the crime but did say Friday that they believe the murders happened as far back as December 19 or 20. Neighbors told investigators that's about when they saw a man digging in the yard alongside a young child.
Meanwhile, deputies in Pasco County were searching the backyard of a home in Port Richey. A sheriff's office spokesperson confirmed that forensics teams were looking for a "possible body" in connection with the Ivancic case, but did not provide any more details.