New Albany woman living in Florida murdered by ex-husband
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Officers found the burned remains of a New Albany woman from South Florida on Monday.
The victim was identified as Katie Baunach. She was last seen alive on Sept. 29, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office said.
Baunach leaves behind two children, 4 and 6 years old.
Police say the man responsible is her ex-husband, Ian Christopher Baunach. The 43-year-old was charged Monday in Hendry County, Florida with her death.
A criminal complaint in the federal case reveals gruesome details of the alleged killing.
Annie Moore, Baunach’s cousin, said she has countless memories with Baunach, whom she called her surrogate sister.
Moore said she hopes her loss, and Katie’s story, will help other’s recognize warning signs and save lives.
”She was wonderful,” Moore said. “She was kind and she had the best laugh. She would pick me up from school in her car, and I would feel like the coolest kid in school.”
Moore said Baunach was a New Albany High School graduate who became a nurse. She said she devoted her life to taking care of others.
”People grow up, they want to be doctors, or lawyers, or astronauts,” Moore said. “Katie wanted to be a mom. (Her kids) lost the best mom in the world. She spent her whole life getting ready to be their mom and she was so good at it.”
Moore said Baunach initially moved to Fort Myers, Florida to be with Ian before they divorced in January.
”Katie was really strong,” Moore said. “She put up with a lot that we didn’t even know was going on.”
On Sept. 30, the day after the Hurricane Ian hit, Moore said Baunach went inland to stay with a friend.
While she was there, her family said her ex-husband reached out to her. He asked Baunach to come over to his house by herself to get the kids’ clothes. The next day, Moore said she wouldn’t answer her phone.
”My aunt and my cousin and her friend started calling the sheriff’s department to do a welfare check,” Moore said. “Just calling, calling calling.”
Police came to his house. At first, Moore said no one answered.
Then, officers came back with a warrant, initially arresting Ian Baunach on 13 drug charges for steroids found in his home
After four days of searching his place, investigators found Katie’s remains outside.
On Oct. 10, Hendry County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit did charge Ian Baunach with first degree pre-meditated murder, destruction or concealed physical evidence, use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony, cremation of a dead body 48 hours after death and failure to report death to a medical examiner.
He is also charged with 13 counts of drug possession, and was federally charged in U.S. District Court for Middle Florida with possession of an unregistered firearm after authorities found 13 silencers in his home.
Ian Baunach is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with no bond.
Katie’s family said she had a restraining order against him. He was also accused of abusing her kids and has a record of domestic violence.
Her family said they are most concerned about raising Katie Baunach’s kids. The family set up a GoFundMe to help raise funds.
If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence, you can visit the National Domestic Violence hotline to call or chat with an expert, or call the LMPD 24 hour crisis line at 1 (844) BE-SAFE-1 (237-2331).
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