ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. A man accused of storing a woman s body in a barrel in the backyard of his Harris County home was found dead in a Florida hotel room last week.
Deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff s Office responded to a call on October 29 about an apparent suicide by hanging in a hotel room.
The body was later confirmed to be that of 64-year-old Dennis Anderson.
Harris County investigators said Anderson had been on the run ever since a deputy, acting on a Crime Stoppers tip, went to Anderson s home in the 7500 block of Split Oak Court on October 21.
The tipster had told investigators Anderson confessed to keeping a woman s body in a barrel in his backyard, and that he d moved the body with him from residence to residence.
When the deputy arrived at the home, he said he found the barrel in the yard with the decomposing body of an unidentified woman inside.
Anderson s roommate was home at the time, but Anderson was nowhere to be found.
Anderson s roommate, Edd Hanson, said he d only lived there for a few weeks, and that Anderson seemed nice [and] very outgoing.
As it turns out, Anderson was a twice-convicted murderer.
His rap sheet dates back to 1972, when he was convicted of theft and murder in the death 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.
Anderson was charged with tampering with a corpse in the barrel case.
Investigators said they were still working to identify that victim on Monday.