A Florida bodybuilder has been charged with the gruesome death of his ex-wife this week ... after being accused of incinerating her body in a backyard.
43-year-old Ian Christopher Baunach -- a former Marine -- was arraigned on Monday on first-degree murder charges in the death of Katie Baunach.
The last time Katie was seen alive was on September 29 ... when a friend claims she said she intended to go to Ian's to get some of her things, but never returned.
Police were called to Ian's home the next day, where they discovered Katie's car parked outside, but he refused to let them in. Once officers revisited the residence with a warrant, Katie's car was gone.
Once inside Ian's home ... detectives say they noticed signs of a struggle and evidence of blood stains.
Officers say they also found an AR-15 upper receiver and 13 silencers, a Glock Model 27 .40 caliber pistol inside a plastic bag on a bookshelf inside a safe. Katie's engagement ring and wedding ring were there as well.
Detectives say they found human remains outside of Ian's home -- including a jawbone with a tooth still intact -- in a fresh burn pile that smelled like flesh, according to docs ... which was near a 50-gallon barrel.
The bodybuilder contends he never killed her, claiming she disappeared. Ian, however, did admit the two got into an argument over another woman.
Ian was taken into custody two days after Katie's death -- and was charged with first-degree premeditated murder, destruction/concealment of physical evidence, and cremating a dead body.
Ian pled not guilty to the charges in Tampa court this week.
Last month, Katie filed for a restraining order against Ian ... after accusing him of abusing one of their children. Ian was also arrested on charges of domestic battery by strangulation in November 2021