A Brandon man is languishing in the Sarasota County Jail after authorities there accused him of murdering his girlfriend and attempting to burn her remains.
Sarasota County deputies were dispatched to a vehicle fire on I-75 near Osprey in mid-October whereupon they discovered a Chrysler minivan aflame. Within the vehicle they subsequently discovered the charred body of Kristen Kelly, a 34-year-old mother of three.
The county’s investigation immediately focused upon Michael Connor Clark, Kelly’s boyfriend and the father of her three children. The 34-year-old Brandon man allegedly told investigators that he had no idea how the situation came to be.
According to investigators, Kelly expired due to blunt-force trauma. Detectives accuse Clark of fatally beating Kelly, placing her body in the rear of the van, then driving to the spot where the van was found. Their investigation of the van prompted them to accuse him of dousing it with gasoline, igniting it with a lighter found nearby, and fleeing the scene.
Clark was arrested in Hillsborough County and jailed there, then transported to Sarasota and booked into the Sarasota County Jail. He is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree arson, destruction of evidence, and possession of cocaine, and is currently being held there without bond.