HOUSTON—The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences on Monday released the identity of a woman whose body was found in a 55-gallon barrel in a Harris County backyard last year.
The body was found at the home of 64-year-old Dennis Anderson, located in the 7500 block of Split Oak, on October 21, 2010, when a deputy went out to the property.
A Crime Stoppers tipster had told investigators that Anderson was keeping a woman’s body in the barrel, and that he’d moved it with him from residence to residence over the years.
When the deputy arrived, he found the barrel and the decomposing body of an unidentified woman inside.
The deputy said the woman’s body was wrapped in a sheet and trash bags and covered with dirt. Investigators said her legs and neck were wrapped in weed-eater wire.
The medical examiner later determined the body to be that of Stacie Lutz, Anderson’s ex-wife.
After the body was found, Anderson went on the run.
He was found dead in a Florida hotel room a little over a week later.
Anderson’s rap sheet dated back to 1972, when he was convicted of theft and murder in the deaths of an antique shop owner and her young granddaughter.
Police said Anderson and an accomplice beat Mabel McCormick to death with a hammer and slit her throat. They then smothered 3-year-old Leslie Bowman and stuffed her head in a toilet.
Police said the men also set the shop on fire in a bid to conceal the evidence.
Anderson was given two life sentences, but he was released from prison after just 17 years as part of a program in the late-80s to ease overcrowding.
"During that time period, there was a major purge in the prison system, in which eight out of 10 inmates, no matter what offense they might have committed, even as heinous as Anderson’s, was coming out, no if and or buts about it," crime victim’s advocate Andy Kahan said.
For the next 21 years, Anderson only had to write to his parole officers once a year.
In early 2010, investigators said Anderson was charged with robbery causing bodily injury, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of theft and spent a few months in jail.
Since he hadn’t been charged with any other crimes since his release from prison, state officials didn’t revoke his parole.