Man Kills Pregnant Stepmom of 6, Calls 911 From Cemetery

Venus Upadhayaya
By Venus Upadhayaya
March 22, 2019US News
Man Kills Pregnant Stepmom of 6, Calls 911 From Cemetery
Sue Ellen Anselmo, 39 was strangled by her 21-year-old stepson, Ian Anselmo at Eustis cemetery in Lake County and died later on March 18, 2019. (Cheri Rodriguez/GoFundMe)

EUSTIS, Fla.—Authorities in Florida say a 21-year-old man strangled his pregnant stepmother and called 911 from a cemetery to confess to killing her.

Police officers found Ian Anselmo in Sue Ellen Anselmo’s SUV on March 13. The 39-year-old mother of six was bleeding and unconscious in the driver’s seat, a cord wrapped taut around her neck.

Lake County charged Ian Anselmo in the assault of his stepmother but offered no motive in a probable cause affidavit. The charges are likely to be upgraded because she later died.

NTD Photo
Sue Ellen Anselmo, 39, in a picture posted on a fundraiser on GoFundMe. (Cheri Rodriguez/GoFundMe)

His father, 41-year-old John Anselmo, tells the Orlando Sentinel “this whole thing seems so weird.” John said he had no idea why his son killed Ian.

“We’re just racking our brains trying to figure out what happened,” he said.

The charging document, signed by Eustis police detective Chris Horst, said Ian was difficult to understand in the 911 call, but he mentioned an argument.

At the cemetery, he told officials that his father would be very upset.

NTD Photo
Sue Ellen Anselmo, 39, in a wedding picture posted on a fundraiser on GoFundMe. (Cheri Rodriguez/GoFundMe)

In an interview with Orlando Sentinel, John Anselmo said he talked with Ian on phone after he was arrested, but they didn’t talk about what happened in the cemetery.

John described Ian as “brilliant” child and mentioned that he had created a children’s comics and that he wanted to become an editor of textbooks and technical writing.

“He’s a good kid,” John said. “I just can’t explain what happened.”

Authorities didn’t mention anything about what Ian and Sue were doing at the cemetery, which is a mile away from the family’s home in Eustis.

John had separated from Sue a week before the slaying, and a day before she was strangled, Sue had hired a divorce lawyer. Sue and John were married for 13 years and John said he had expected them to reconcile and remain a family.

“Because I love her, man, she was my everything,” he said.

NTD Photo
Sue Ellen Anselmo, 39, in a picture posted on a fundraiser on GoFundMe. (Cheri Rodriguez/GoFundMe)

Cynthia Miller, Sue’s mother, however, did have the same view about their marriage. She had submitted an emergency petition in the Circuit Court in Lake County to become the temporary guardian for Sue’s health-care decisions while she was battling for her life in the hospital.

John, however, denied his mother-in-laws allegations and said that he never hit his wife but instead she hit him at times. Sue’s daughter from a past marriage disputed his claims.

John and Sue had five children, aged 10 and younger, including one with down syndrome. “My wife loved babies,” John said.

Sue worked as a hair-stylist at a Eustis salon while John stayed at home to look after their children, including three from his previous marriage.

A GoFundMe fundraiser created for Sue’s funeral service mentioned that her family had planned a memorial for her at the First Baptist Church of Umatilla on March 21.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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