Arizona Woman and Boyfriend Arrested After Mother's Body Found in 55 Gallon Drum Buried in Backyard Grave

Two Arizona residents were arrested yesterday after a woman's body was discovered inside a 55 gallon drum buried at a Kingman property, police said.

Mark Anthony Baldanado Jr., 31, and Carrie Conlyn Vanover, 23, both of Kingman, have been charged with first degree murder in relation to the grim discovery, according to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, which confirmed details of the case on its Facebook page.

Authorities said sheriff's office detectives received information last Friday about a "potential unreported homicide" that took place at a home in the 4500 block of Glen Road, Kingman. The tip off—the source of which remains unclear—said the homicide occurred in April 2019.

The lead sparked a surveillance operation and a search warrant was served on the residence shortly after, spearheaded by the sheriff's office SWAT team and local detectives.

While searching the property, police said a body was found in the large drum, which had been buried in a shallow grave in the backyard of the residence. The victim is believed to be Shawn Maureen Vanover, the suspect's own mother. The victim's age was not immediately clear.

Police said yesterday that an autopsy will now be conducted to positively identify the victim and determine the cause of death. Officials said the investigation remains ongoing.

Baldanado and Vanover were arrested and transported to the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility. They both confessed to their involvement in the killing, law enforcement noted. The sheriff's office released images of both suspects and the Kingman property on social media.

The two arrests were verified using online inmate records published by the Arizona detection facility. Both suspects were held without bond, each with a charge of first degree premeditated murder. The male suspect's surname was listed as Baldonado on the jail's digital system.

It remains unclear if the pair have been appointed legal representation and when they will next appear in court. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Baldanado is Vanover's boyfriend.

Suspects - Arizona
Pictured (L/R): Mark Anthony Baldanado Jr and Carrie Conlyn Vanover. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office released the images on July 18, 2019, via social media. Mohave County Sheriff’s Office

What does Arizona law say about first-degree murder?

According to Arizona-based criminal defense lawyer Shawn B. Hamp, the charge of murder carries "extreme criminal penalties." Arizona currently has the death penalty, even if laws surrounding the sentence were recently tightened by local senators.

"First-degree murder is the most serious degree of murder in the state and is punished as a Class 1 felony. Premeditation can occur over a long or even short period of time," Hamp's website says, noting sentences also include life in prison without parole.

"Arizona has the death penalty and depending on the facts of the alleged murder, you could face life in prison or the death penalty," the site adds. Of course, penalties will depend on a conviction.

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, there are currently 116 people on death row in the state. Of that, 113 are male. The most recent execution was Joseph Wood, in 2014.

Arizona Woman and Boyfriend Arrested After Mother's Body Found in 55 Gallon Drum Buried in Backyard Grave | News