LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A 25-year-old man arrested in Lakewood admitted to authorities that he was involved in a family triple-homicide that took place in Tarpon Springs, Fla., according to police.
Shelby J. Svensen was taken into custody without incident on Thursday night in Lakewood when police apprehended him on suspicion of stealing a 2013 Kia Sorrento from Florida that police believe was involved in the murders.
Police in Florida have been investigating a triple murder at a Tarpon Springs home since New Year's Day. On Jan. 1, Tarpon Springs police found the bodies of three adults and three dogs, named Buddy, Boomer and Bailey, inside a home on Juanita Way in "The Meadows" after responding to a welfare check. Authorities said the bodies were in a state of “advanced decomposition.”
All three victims who lived at the residence were related. The deceased include Richard Louis Ivancic, 71, his wife Laura Ann Ivancic, 59, and their son Nicholas James Ivancic, 25. The Ivancic's daughter, 21-year-old Jamie Nicole Ivancic, is missing under suspicious circumstances. She is the wife of the suspect being held in Lakewood.
An autopsy revealed all three died as a result of homicide. Through the investigation, the deaths of all three family members are believed to have occurred later in the day on Dec. 19 or 20, according to Major Jeff Young, of the Tarpon Springs Police Department.
Nicole Ivancic's whereabouts are currently unknown, but authorities fear that she may be a victim of foul play, according to Young.
Neighbors told investigators that they saw someone matching the description of a white male possibly in his 20s, with a child possibly 2 or 3 years old, digging up a ditch outside the Florida residence.
The description given by neighbors to police matched that of Svensen.
Svensen is currently being held in Cuyahoga County Jail for receiving stolen property and a domestic violence warrant from Broadview Heights. He has not been charged with any other crimes.
Body found at second site
Detectives and forensic anthropologists from the University of South Florida found a body while they were investigating a second location they believed to be related to the Tarpon Springs triple-homicide, according to deputies.
The remains were found on Sunday evening and were taken from the site to be tested, deputies confirmed.
The body has not been identified at this time, according to deputies.
A family member said deputies told them the body found was basically just bones.
Shelby J. Svensen is still on probation as a result of a domestic violence case from Oct. 2016, according to Broadview Heights Police Department.
During the incident, Svensen had asked to be taken to the hospital because he was having suicidal thoughts, police said.
While being transported to the hospital, his wife Nicole Ivancic, told police that she was 16 weeks pregnant and Svensen had choked her, threw her against the wall and bit her, according to police.
Svensen accused Ivancic of choking and hitting him and they were both arrested, police said.
Ivancic's case was dismissed while Svensen pleaded no-contest and spent 30 days in jail.
Svensen was involved in another domestic violence case with his previous wife.
Svensen was 19-years-old when he reportedly got mad because his wife wouldn't let his friends smoke marijuana around their 1-year-old daughter. He grabbed her, repeatedly hit her in the face and restrained her, police said.
That charge sent Svensen to jail for three days, according to police.
Second site under investigation
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is investigating a second crime scene in Port Richie, Fla., that it says is connected to the triple-murder crime scene in Tarpon Springs.
Sheriff detectives and forensic anthropologists from the University of South Florida are on site of a residence investigating a report of a possible body on the site, according to deputies.
No bodies have been found at this time, deputies said.
The arrest in Lakewood
After getting a call from police in Florida about the suspect possibly being in Northeast Ohio, Lakewood police used information generated by an automated license plate reader at the corner of Detroit and West 117th to detect that the stolen car was located in Lakewood.
The man was arrested in the 1500 block of Newman Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio around 7 p.m.
The man's children, ages 2 and 3, who were located inside the residence, were transported, uninjured, to Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services.
If you have information, police encourage you to call 727-937-1558.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.