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Tampa man charged with killing wife he reported missing last year

TAMPA — Deputies charged a husband Thursday with murdering the wife he reported missing nearly nine months ago. The body of Megan McNally Gigante, 26, was discovered May 31 near Adamsville Road off U.S. 41 in Gibsonton.

Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies said her husband, Richard Gigante, 38, reported her missing to Tampa police the same day her body was found.

At the time, Gigante told detectives he had last seen his wife getting into a white Cadillac Escalade with tinted windows and a plastic cover over the license plate, according to reports.

His wife's body was positively identified on June 4, and the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office later said she died of homicidal violence. She had fractures of her thyroid cartilage, said Dick Bailey, a spokesman for the office.

Investigators are being tight-lipped about how they linked Gigante to his wife's murder.

The Sheriff's Office said Thursday that based on undisclosed evidence, detectives took the case to the Hillsborough State Attorney's office, which decided to charge Gigante with second-degree murder. He was picked up Thursday night at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Pinellas County.

Megan and Richard Gigante were married June 19, 2006, according to court records. She was his second wife, according to Gigante's mother, Cynthia Gigante of Texas.

A daughter, Brieanna Italia, was born a month later, birth announcements show. The couple has had two children together, his mother explained.

But Gigante never had custody of the children, said Debbie Carter, a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. She said they live with a relative. During an interview when Megan Gigante's body was found last year, Cynthia Gigante said Megan was helping her son fix homes and wanted to become an interior decorator.

Richard Gigante has only a minor criminal history in the state, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement Records. He was charged in 2006 with failing to accept a traffic citation, a misdemeanor.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Tampa man charged with killing wife he reported missing last year 02/03/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 4, 2011 12:27am]
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