NR 23-10 Palm Bay Man Arrested in Homicide of Missing Woman
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 32-year-old Daniel Stearns of Palm Bay, for the murder after human remains were discovered in a densely wooded area of Palm Bay. The remains are believed to be those of 44-year-old, Nancy Howery, who was reported missing from Indian Harbour Beach on February 18, 2023. Stearns was taken into custody this afternoon after an arrest warrant was signed by the Honorable Judge Steve Henderson charging him with Second Degree Murder, Tampering with Evidence and Mutilation of a Dead Body. He is currently being held at the Brevard County Jail Complex on a No Bond status.
The investigation began after Howery was reported missing to the Indian Harbour Beach Police Department. Detectives with that agency began investigating the case and after uncovering evidence that Howery may have been a victim of foul play and the incident occurred outside their jurisdictional boundary, they contacted the Sheriff’s Office who assumed the investigation.
As the investigation continued, Stearns was identified as a suspect in the disappearance. Surveillance was conducted on Stearns by members of the GAMEOVER Task Force, and the Sheriff’s Office Fugitive and Aviation Units. During the early morning hours of March 9, 2023, Stearns was observed leaving his residence and traveling into an undeveloped wooded area in Palm Bay commonly referred to as “The Compound.” While in the area, Stearns was observed attempting to dispose of evidence. He was then detained by members of the Game Over Task Force. Sheriff’s Office Homicide agents and Crime Scene investigators responded to the area to search several areas where human remains were discovered. Further forensic testing will need to be conducted in order to positively identify the victim of the human remains located.
To date, the investigation has revealed that Stearns and Howery had been in a relationship and on February 15, 2023, the last day she was observed alive, they were involved in an argument. During the argument Stearns allegedly shot Howery which resulted in her death. Over the next few days Stearns allegedly dismembered and burned the body, burying the remains in several different locations.
Anyone who may have information in reference to this homicide investigation, is asked to please call Agent Tyler Peterson of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit at 321-633-8400.
For additional information concerning this News Release, please call PIO Tod Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office at 321-501-7594.