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Deputies: Indian Rocks Beach man killed wife, kept body in bathtub for two weeks

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — A 59-year-old woman found dead in her home Thursday night was smothered to death two weeks ago, and her husband will be charged with killing her, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies said Friday.

The investigation began when deputies arrived at 1916 First St. just after 6:30 p.m. Thursday in response to a 911 call by David R. Ernst, 45.

Ernst told deputies that he was suicidal and had taken medications in an attempt to end his life, sheriff's officials said. He was then taken to a hospital for treatment.

Inside the home, deputies found Darlene M. Mayfield's body in the bathtub. It was so badly decomposed that they could not immediately identify her or make out any signs of trauma, deputies said.

Deputies said Ernst later admitted to killing her during an argument, then placing her in the bathtub.

Ernst was taken to a local hospital, where he was guarded by deputies while he received treatment. Pinellas County Jail records show he was booked on a charge of second-degree murder late Friday night.

Deputies: Indian Rocks Beach man killed wife, kept body in bathtub for two weeks 07/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 23, 2011 12:44am]

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