Law enforcement authorities in Florida say the evidence from inside the home of a woman who was reported missing indicates that she was likely murdered by her husband.
Investigators are now seeking the public’s help in locating Irene Lanning Xeniti, 53, just days after her husband, Ian Andrew Lanning, 54, was charged with one count of first-degree murder in her death.
During a Tuesday morning press conference, detectives with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office discussed recent developments in the case that have reinforced their belief that Xeniti was murdered by Lanning inside of the Pompano Beach home the couple shared.
“Committing a crime is not very easy without leaving evidence. I can tell you there was an extensive amount of evidence in that house and it paints a very gruesome picture. So we’re confident that Irene is deceased and obviously we’re looking for her remains to get them home to her family members,” Sgt. Kevin Forsberg said.
Officials said they still have not been able to determine how Xeniti was killed, but indicated that, based on the evidence to date, a “horrific” killing took place in the home.
“There was a lot of evidence, forensic evidence, that we could see inside the house, indicated an attempt to clean up. Obviously, with giving a little respect to the family, we’re not going to give details on what we saw in there, ’cause they are pretty graphic, it’s pretty horrific what we saw in there,” Forsberg continued. “We found items that could lead us to believe that any of those issues – could have been the issue, or the cause of her death. But at this time, until we find her body, we probably won’t be able to tell 100% what her cause was.”
According to a Sun Sentinel report, investigators said Xeniti’s cause of death could have been a physical assault, gunshot wounds, or blunt force trauma.
Sgt. Bryan Tutler was even more direct in saying that investigators are confident a killing took place inside the home.
“There’s a large amount of evidence to indicate that somebody did not leave that house alive,” Sgt. Tutler said, adding, “We’re still searching for a lot of answers.”
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Xeniti’s daughter first reported her mother missing on May 30. Investigators questioned Lanning, who allegedly claimed that Xeniti left home after the two argued two weeks earlier on May 14. Lanning allegedly asserted that he had not heard from his wife since the argument, stating that she had not returned home.
But Sgt. Forsberg said that investigators had already uncovered evidence contradicting Lanning’s original claims.
“One of the red flags—initially he said the last time he saw her was on [May] 14th. Through the investigation of us tracking their movements, we could tell that was inaccurate,” Sgt. Forsberg said. “We were able to track their movements up until the 21st.”
Investigators said the couple was together on May 20 and that Xeniti’s phone was in the area of the couple’s home at approximately 1 a.m. on May 21, the night detectives believe she was killed.
Alleging that Lanning seemed “nonchalant” about his wife going missing, Sgt. Tutler said that Lanning’s level of cooperation has left something to be desired.
“He has been semi-cooperative but his level of cooperation has, if, we wouldn’t be looking for her body if we had all the answers we’re looking for,” Tutler said.
Online records show Lanning is locked up without bond at the Broward County Jail. He does not appear to have an attorney of record.
Authorities are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of Xeniti’s body.
“We’re also specifically asking anybody that’s had contact with Ian Lanning in the last month, whether it be a phone conversation or brief encounter in a grocery store, anything like that, please give us a call,” Tutler said. “It may not seem important, but in a case like this everything is important, so any type of info you can provide, we’d appreciate. Don’t hesitate, just give us a call.”
[Images via Broward County Sheriff’s Office]
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