TAMPA (WFLA) – A Tampa-area man already in prison has been charged in the gruesome dismemberment of a Pennsylvania woman refused to leave his jail cell for a routine court appearance on Monday.
Tampa police arrested Kessler for the murder of Stephanie Crone-Overholts after parts of her body were discovered in Tampa’s McKay Bay.
Court documents reveal a witness called 911 to report he’d found part of a human leg in McKay Bay on Nov. 11th. When officers arrived they found part of a leg that had been severed a few inches above the knee.
The court document reveals there was a distinct tattoo on the outside of the calf area with the names “Sean”, “Greg”, and “Zach”.
Witnesses at the scene told police they had been fishing and heard several loud splashes in the area and believed something had been thrown off the bridge.
The witnesses then reported seeing “older male, white, approximately 62-68 years old, with white hair but balding and his face mashed like he had no teeth. This male was holding a black garbage bag over the side of the bridge like he had just dumped objects out of it. He said, when the male saw him looking, he dropped the bag into the water.”
The description matches the appearance of Robert Kessler.
The next day another fisherman reported seeing another body part. The Tampa Police Dive team responded and recovered another part of a human leg.
According to the court document the Police Marine unit then discovered more human remains after being called to the area by another fisherman, “another body part was located floating in the area.
This body part appeared to be the lower torso of a female. This lower torso was cut at the lower thighs and in half just a few inches above the belly button. The leg portion of the torso appeared to be consistent with belonging to the two legs that were recovered.
A few hours later in the same area, the internal organs of a human were recovered from the same area of McKay Bay.
Detectives became aware that the tattoo located on the severed leg, previously located, may belong to a “missing female,” stated an officer in his report. Police say several witnesses reported seeing Kessler in the area and phone records show his cell phone was in the area at the time he was reportedly seen by the witnesses.
Police eventually located Kessler and he admitted to them that Overholts had been living with him but told officers she had left his home on Nov. 5 and he didn’t know where she was. Police say they also spoke to Kessler’s daughter who told them that her father got into an argument with Overholts when the woman asked her father for money.
She then told officers the room where Overholts was staying smelled bad and they were going to “redecorate it”.
Crime scene technicians searched Kessler’s home and found numerous areas of visible blood throughout the residence. The new carpet had been placed in one area and new bedding was on top of a single mattress.
Sarah Gray says she is the aunt of the little girl mentioned in the report. Gray says her sister, April Thompson was the little girl’s mother and they were living with Kessler, but she says her sister died in early September.
She says Kessler is a man with a violent temper.
“He has a history of battery in April and given how he could be easily irate and act out and threaten others, I would definitely label him a vicious person,” Gray said.
She says she and her mother are now fighting for custody of the little girl who is currently in DCF care.
“She is this spunky little girl. She loves to laugh. She loves to tell you about everything and she just loves to love, that’s the best thing I love about her. She’s just so sweet and pure and innocent. We are currently trying to battle and do what we can to get custody, to get her back home with family because we just miss her very much,” Gray said.