LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A man has admitted to killing his wife, her parents and her brother, and investigators are working to extradite him to Florida to charge him with their murders.
Shelby Nealy, 25, was arrested in Lakewood, Ohio after police caught him with a car stolen from a Florida home where three people were found dead.
The bodies of Nealy's in-laws and three dogs were discovered inside a Tarpon Springs residence on New Year's Day. Less than a week later, a fourth body connected to the case was found near a Port Richey home. On Tuesday, investigators say the remains were identified as Nealy's wife, Jamie Ivancic.
When police responded to the area where the stolen SUV was seen, they arrested Nealy, who also uses the alias name of Shelby Svense. Nealy was in a home on Newman Avenue with his two children, a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. The toddlers were transported to Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services.
On January 1, Tarpon Springs police found the bodies of Richard Louis Ivancic, 71, Laura Ann Ivancic, 59, and Nicholas James Ivancic, 25, inside a home on Juanita Way in "The Meadows" after responding to a welfare check. Richard and Laura are husband and wife and Nicholas is their son. The three family members lived together in the Tarpon Springs home. Three bichon frise mix breed dogs named Bailey, Boomer and Buddy were also killed.
Investigators believe the homicide occurred on December 19 or 20 of 2018, but the bodies were not discovered until a week and a half later when a concerned family member called police.
Shelby Nealy admitted to his involvement in the murders, according to Tarpon Springs police.
Detectives say nearby neighbors were instrumental in tracking Nealy down after watching him dig a shallow hole in the front of the trailer home where the murders occurred. Neighbors said a child stood nearby watching as the man in his 20s dug the hole. Detectives say the description from neighbors matched the description family members gave for Nealy. Detectives say Nealy used a credit card to make purchases at businesses in Pinellas and Pasco County, including a few local pawn shops.
Tarpon Springs Police say Richard and Laura's daughter, Jamie Nicole Ivancic, 21, is Nealy's wife. Initially, investigators said Ivancic was missing under suspicious circumstances and she had been reported as a missing and endangered person. At the time, police said she could be a victim of foul play.
At 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Pasco County Sheriff's Office checked out a lead provided by Tarpon Spring Police Department regarding a body found near a residence on Norwood Avenue in Port Richey. The Sheriff's Office detectives and Forensics Anthropologists from the University of South Florida found a body at the residence Sunday evening after days of searching. On Tuesday, the remains were identified as Jamie Ivancic.
According to investigators, Jamie Ivancic was killed by violent blunt force trauma.
She may have been dead for as long as a year. That's when investigators say Nealy left the Port Richey home with their two children. They say he has not been back since.
The motive is unclear at this time.
“The investigation indicates at this moment that she had conveyed to some family members about a year ago that she was planning on leaving [him]," said Colonel Jeff Harrington, Chief Deputy at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities say that in all this time in between now and then, Nealy either tricked people who were asking about her into thinking she was unavailable to talk, or posing as her through some other means. That information is still under investigation.
Family tell us Jamie's mother, Laura Ivancic, had been trying to get in touch with her for months.
"My sister, Laura, was very concerned about her daughter Jamie and she had contacted them a number of times and was never able to communicate with Jamie," said James Zindroski, Jamie's uncle, “If in fact Shelby is guilty of all this I just hope justice is served.”
Nealy is in custody in Ohio. Pasco County deputies say they intend to charge him with homicide and are working out details of specific charges with the State Attorney's Office. They also plan to extradite him to Florida.