A former Navy officer has been accused of murdering his wife five months after her dismembered body was found near a hunting lodge in Georgia.
The remains of 40-year-old writer Mindi Mebane Kassotis were discovered by hunters at the Portal Hunting Club in Riceboro last December. The body, believed to have been placed at the scene a month before the gruesome discovery, has only now been positively identified with the help of genealogy DNA, according to authorities.
Kassotis’s husband, Nicholas Kassotis, 40, was arrested on 12 May in connection with her death in Pennsylvania, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations said in a statement. He remains in custody at the Lancaster County Prison awaiting extradition to Georgia.
Mr Kassotis, an ex-Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) officer, faces charges of murder, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, and removal of body parts from the scene of death.
The Kassotis had been married for six years and were living in Savannah at the time the crime is believed to have taken place.
Kassotis’ dismembered body was found on 2 December in a wooded area off Jones Road. More body parts were discovered within a three-mile radius of the hunting club. Near the area, investigators also found Kassotis’ clothing.
Her remains were identified on Thursday after her family provided samples that were then sent to an FBI-run lab that specialises in advanced DNA testing.
According to their 2016 wedding announcement, Kassotis was a Virginia Tech graduate while her husband had pursued law at Northeastern University and Georgetown University, PEOPLE reported.
Authorities have yet to establish a motive for the alleged murder.
Kassotis, a writer and business owner, was fondly remembered by family members and friends on social media.
“She touched so many lives,” a former classmate of Kassotis wrote on Facebook, according to PEOPLE. “I hope she knew how many loved her and how many have missed her for so long. I also pray she didn’t suffer. She was such a special person, a true friend to all.”
Authorities have asked anyone with information regarding the circumstances that led to Kassotis’s death to reach the GBI Office in Statesboro at 912-871-1121 or the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at 912-876-4555. Anonymous tips can be also submitted here.