A Kingman woman and her boyfriend murdered the woman’s mother because they feared she would attempt to take custody of their son, according to the statement of probable cause for the search that led to the discovery and recovery of the victim’s body.
62-year-old Shawn Vanover apparently had legal custody of Carrie Vanover’s five-year old daughter for undisclosed reasons. Vanover, 23, told detectives that she and Mark Baldonado, 31, began planning to kill her mother about a month before their son was to be born.
The probable cause affidavit said they wanted to regain custody of the girl and ensure they kept their son given the victim’s threat of attempting to gain custody of him. “They did not want Shawn to get custody of their newborn,” the affidavit said.
Chief Sheriffs Deputy Dean McKie said Department of Child Services (DCS) officials took custody of the newborn sometime after its birth. The affidavit indicated that the girl was with the victim when she moved into the home Carrie and Mark shared in north Kingman within days of her April 14 murder.
The girl was placed with DCS after the victim’s body was recovered and the suspects were arrested on July 17, five days after an unidentified third party informed the sheriff’s office that the murder occurred.
The suspect’s confessions and grisly details of the homicide are laid out in the affidavit. Baldonado told investigators he gave Shawn two Seroquel pills, hoping that she would become drowsy and vulnerable for the planned killing.
Baldonado said the scheme didn’t work because Shawn was up and down through the evening and up making coffee at 6:00 a.m. Vanover said she got a cup of coffee from her mother and saw Baldonado standing in a bathroom with a hammer as she entered their bedroom.
“While in the bedroom she heard Shawn screaming. Mark came into the room stating Shawn was still breathing,” the affidavit said. “He grabbed a black gun from the night stand and headed back to the kitchen. Carrie stated she heard two gunshots.”
Baldonado told detectives that he blacked out and did not remember striking the victim, though he remembers standing over her with a hammer before shooting her with a .380 caliber semi automatic handgun. Vanover said Baldonado told her that he put a pillow over her mother’s head, shooting her once in the face and once in the head.
The affidavit said that Vanover cleaned up blood in the kitchen where her mom was killed. Baldonado told authorities he placed the victim’s body in a 55-gallon drum and used a cherry picker to lower the drum into a hole he had dug.
Baldonado said he used cinder block to construct a fireplace over the top of the burial site.
The defendants are held on $1-million bond, awaiting pre-trial hearings this Friday.