For nearly a year, Jamie Ivancic’s family thought that she was alive — just too busy to talk.
As WWSB reports, the 21-year-old mom from Pasco County, Florida hadn’t talked to anyone since a Facetime call on January 25, 2018. That’s when Jamie told her sister, Karma Stewart, that she was planning to leave her husband, take her two young children, and hide.
Stewart told the Tampa Bay Times that she’d urged Jamie to leave more than once:
“I tried to convince her a couple times that she would be better off leaving him, just being a single mom with the support of her family. But I don’t think she ever considered it an option.”
The family didn’t see or speak to her again. Jamie, the children, and her husband, Shelby Svenson, all seemed to have left Florida and moved to Texas. However, family members still received the occasional text message or photo of the kids from Jamie.
The general impression they got was that Jamie was just busy and didn’t have time to talk when they did. One friend told the Times:
“A few months ago I finally got a hold of her mom on Facebook and her mom said she was getting pictures of the kids and she was saying that Jamie was fine, just busy working and being a mom and that she was laying low, figuring things out.”
A separate tragedy would reveal that those messages weren’t coming from Jamie.
According to WPTV, on January 1, police in Tarpon Springs, Florida performed a welfare check at the home of Jamie’s parents. The family had gone silent for weeks, and a relative asked authorities to investigate.
Inside the home, police found a massacre. Jamie’s parents (71-year-old Richard Ivancic and 59-year-old Laura Ivancic) and brother (25-year-old Nicholas Ivancic) had been murdered, along with their three dogs.
On January 3, Shelby Svensen, Jamie’s husband, was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio while driving his mother-in-law’s stolen SUV. In the car with him were his two children, aged 2 and 3.
Svensen admitted to killing his in-laws. That led police to another question: where was Jamie?
As 10 News reports, that mystery came to an end this week, when police found Jamie’s body in the backyard of the Florida home she had shared with Svensen. Her death was caused by violent blunt force trauma and she may have been dead for a year.
Col. Jeff Harrington of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office told WPTV that Svensen and the children had left the home in Florida nearly a year ago and had been moving around ever since. The messages to Jamie’s family, assuring them that she was fine, were actually from her husband.
Harrington explained that Svensen had used Jamie’s phone to carry out the deception:
“It would appear that he was able to just trick them into thinking that she was unavailable, she was somewhere else and she was unavailable for a phone call.”
Officials are now working to bring Svensen back to Florida, where he will be charged with his wife’s murder in addition to the murder of his in-laws.
Jamie’s family is still struggling with the fact that Svensen was able to trick them for so long. Her sister told the Times:
“I feel betrayed and that I was played. I didn’t expect the worst when I probably should have.”