Shelby Svensen admitted to killing his wife Jamie Ivancic — but only after he was arrested for also killing three of her family members. Authorities believe Ivancic may have been dead for as long as a year, but Svensen convinced her friends and family that she was still alive by texting and sending photos of the couple’s two young children from her phone, and telling them that she was unavailable to talk when they called.
Ivancic’s parents and brother were found dead in their Tarpon Springs, Florida home on New Years’ Day, and Svenson, 25, was arrested in Ohio two days later, driving his murdered mother-in-law Laura Ivancic’s stolen SUV. He’s currently awaiting extradition from Ohio to Florida. During an interrogation regarding the triple murder, Svenson also admitted to killing his wife, who was 21, and burying her body in the backyard of their previous residence in Port Richey, Florida. The Pasco County police department excavated the backyard, and, on Tuesday, identified remains found there as those of Jamie Ivancic.
Chief Deputy Jeff Harrington said at a press conference Tuesday that Ivancic’s cause of death was “violent blunt-force trauma,” and that the police department is still investigating the exact events that led up to her death. “At this point we just don’t know,” he said regarding motive, the circumstances of her death, and whether the couple’s two young children were present at the time. The children were in the car with Svenson when he was arrested and, Harrington said, “the most important thing at this point is that we know that they’re safe.” They’re currently in foster care in Ohio, family members told the Tampa Bay Times.
Harrington also said at the press conference that Ivancic had told family members about a year ago that she was planning to leave Svenson, and take the children with her. Both Ivancic and Svenson were previously arrested on domestic violence charges, accused of assaulting each other. The last time anyone actually spoke directly with Ivancic was about a year ago, on January 25th, 2018, when she had a FaceTime call with her sister Karma Stewart. Since then, Svenson was able to deflect attempts to speak with his wife directly, keeping up appearances that she was fine, and just too busy to talk, Harrington said.
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“I feel betrayed and that I was played,” Stewart told the Tampa Bay Times. “I didn’t expect the worst when I probably should have.”
A representative of the Pasco County Sheriff’s office told Rolling Stone that Svenson will be charged with his wife’s murder, but not until after he’s tried for the triple homicide in Tarpon Springs, which takes precedence.
Jamie and her brother Nicholas were both adopted by their parents, Richard and Laura Ivancic, who regularly fostered children, according to their son Richard Ivancic, Jr., the oldest of Richard Ivancic’s four children from a previous marriage. Richard Jr. called the police on New Years’ Day, asking for a welfare check at Richard and Laura’s home, reporting that he hadn’t heard from his father since December 13th and that it was unlike him to be unresponsive for that long. When police arrived, they found Richard, Laura and Nicholas dead, likely for about a week, as well as the family’s three dogs. No official statement has been made yet as to the motive for those murders, either. The Tarpon Springs Police Department was not immediately available for comment, and it’s unclear whether Svenson has legal representation to speak on his behalf.