A Florida bodybuilder accused of killing his ex-wife in a homicidal rage displayed disturbingly violent tendencies throughout the doomed couple’s eight-year relationship and once shattered a window during an argument, a family member who witnessed the outburst told The Daily Beast.

But while the relative said ex-Marine Ian Christopher Baunach “was all about himself from the get-go,” and had once been arrested for strangling his then-spouse, no one thought it would ever end in murder charges.

Baunach, 43, is now facing a slew of charges, including first-degree murder, in the death of 39-year-old registered nurse Katie Baunach. The couple’s two young children, ages 4 and 6, have been taken in by their grandmother in the aftermath of their mom’s shocking death, Annie Moore, Katie’s cousin, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday night. The family has been speaking with a therapist about how to break the news to the kids and help them through this, she said.

“It’s somehow equally shocking, and not completely surprising,” Moore, who had been very close with Katie, said Wednesday night. “Like… he’s not a good person, and we’ve known that. But it’s still, like, a surreal thing. And the fact that we can’t pick up the phone and call her will not be real for a long time.”

Katie, who had obtained a restraining order against Baunach for allegedly abusing one of the kids, dropped the children off with a friend on Sept. 29 and went to her ex’s home in Fort Denaud to pick up some of her belongings. She never returned. The next day, police say they discovered a human jawbone in a burn pile on Baunach’s property, along with decaying body parts stuffed into a 50-gallon barrel.

Baunach is also charged with possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, for a stash of anabolic steroids allegedly found in his home. He was further hit with additional federal counts over 13 unregistered silencers investigators reportedly discovered there. Among the items seized when Baunach was arrested include an AR-15 upper receiver, two Glock Model 27 .40 caliber pistols, three rifles, and a shotgun. Katie’s wedding band and engagement ring, which she had been wearing when she left for Baunach’s the night she died, were found in a safe Baunach kept in his home office, according to authorities.

The trunk of Baunach’s car, which had apparently been cleaned after Katie’s death, glowed blue when investigators sprayed it with luminol, a chemical that reacts to the presence of blood, the federal complaint against Baunach states. A hallway connecting the garage with the foyer of Baunach’s home bore “signs of a physical struggle,” and the presence of blood was detected over a “large surface area on three different walls” inside, according to the complaint.

Baunach “admitted to being angry that Katie Baunach filed for and received a domestic violence injunction against him,” it says.

“It’s beyond comprehension,” Moore said on Wednesday of the charges. “I knew he wasn’t good eight years ago… But this is something totally different. This is not a real thing that real humans do. It’s really, really difficult to process, that someone that you broke bread with, and spent time with, could do these things.”

Moore said Katie told her that Baunach, who attended Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, “was violent their entire relationship—while they were dating, during their engagement, everything,” adding that Baunach “often quoted scripture” during outbursts. She also said she once personally witnessed Baunach, who met Katie on the dating site Christian Mingle, throw a sippy cup “so hard it broke a window” during a get-together at her aunt’s house while the two were dating.

“He just wasn’t right,” she recalled. “He wasn’t normal. And it wasn’t just that he was big and a bodybuilder and all of that. There was something missing.”

Last November, Baunach was arrested on charges of domestic battery by strangulation, but prosecutors did not pursue the case, and the charges were dropped in January, according to jail records.

Katie was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in Indiana, according to Moore. She got her bachelor’s in nursing and worked as an RN at a retirement home in Fort Myers, having moved to inland Florida at Baunach’s urging.

“They lived in the middle of nowhere… away from everybody,” Moore said. “And I honestly hadn’t talked to her in months, because he had gotten her away from me. And other cousins and friends, it was the same way. Her mom, my sister, everyone… [we] weren’t allowed around there. It was really toxic… Told us all we were crazy and that he was the only one that cared for her.”

Although Baunach seemed completely self-involved, Katie “loved him and wanted a family and was willing to do whatever,” according to Moore. She helped Baunach prepare for bodybuilding competitions, which Moore said was “all-consuming” for him.

When things finally became too much to bear, Katie left. She took the children, moved into a new home in Fort Myers Beach, and set off on a new, independent path.

“She had just gotten out, she was living her life, she had a great job, she was going to get her nurse practitioner [certification],” Moore said. “She had the kids in a good school, she had her own place, and now it’s all gone.”

Moore said she was speaking out so her cousin’s story could get told in light of so much attention being paid to Baunach and the heinous allegations against him. The last she heard from him was in February, when, “out of the blue, [he] texted angrily at the entire family how he and Katie were getting back together, no thanks to her family.”

Now, Moore just hopes Katie’s children will remember her.

“She was a dancer, she had the best laugh,” Moore said. “She cut all the tags out of their clothes so that they didn’t have anything bothering them. She was born to be a mom. She was so maternal, and so good… She won’t ever get to see them get married, or graduate, or become whole people. And I know she would’ve loved that.”

Moore has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help Katie’s mother raise her grandchildren. It has so far raised nearly $30,000 of its $50,000 goal.

“Growing up, some people want to be an astronaut or a doctor or a vet,” said Moore. “Katie wanted to be a mom… And her kids were her whole world… She really was a beautiful person, and not that anybody deserves this, but man, she did not deserve this.”

If convicted on the first-degree murder charge, Baunach faces life in prison or the death penalty.

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Bodybuilder Accused of Murdering Ex-Wife Was ‘Toxic,’ Furious Family Says

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13.10.2022

A Florida bodybuilder accused of killing his ex-wife in a homicidal rage displayed disturbingly violent tendencies throughout the doomed couple’s eight-year relationship and once shattered a window during an argument, a family member who witnessed the outburst told The Daily Beast.

But while the relative said ex-Marine Ian Christopher Baunach “was all about himself from the get-go,” and had once been arrested for strangling his then-spouse, no one thought it would ever end in murder charges.

Baunach, 43, is now facing a slew of charges, including first-degree murder, in the death of 39-year-old registered nurse Katie Baunach. The couple’s two young children, ages 4 and 6, have been taken in by their grandmother in the aftermath of their mom’s shocking death, Annie Moore, Katie’s cousin, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday night. The family has been speaking with a therapist about how to break the news to the kids and help them through this, she said.

“It’s somehow equally shocking, and not completely surprising,” Moore, who had been very close with Katie, said Wednesday night. “Like… he’s not a good person, and we’ve known that. But it’s still, like, a surreal thing. And the fact that we can’t pick up the phone and call her will not be real for a long time.”

Katie, who had obtained a restraining order against Baunach for allegedly abusing one of the kids, dropped the children off with a friend on Sept. 29 and went to her ex’s home in Fort Denaud to pick up some of her belongings. She never returned. The next day, police say they discovered a human jawbone in a burn pile on Baunach’s property, along with decaying body........

© The Daily Beast


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