- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

HARRISBURG, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois man has been charged in connection with his estranged wife’s disappearance.

On Wednesday, Brian Burns, 56, of Harrisburg was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one charge of concealment of homicidal death. He’s accused of shooting his wife, Carla Burns, 49, and then burning her body and spreading the ashes in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Carla Burns sought a restraining order against Brian Burns because she feared his alleged verbal abuse would become physical after she declined to try working out the problems in their marriage, according to divorce court records filed in December 2014.

In subsequent filings, Brian Burns accused his wife of “economic blackmail,” ”verbal harassment,” and making factually unfounded allegations that could jeopardize his medical license. He also accused his wife of adultery.

Carla Burns was reported missing on March 10, two days after she was last seen in Saline County.

A neighbor, Earl Williams, said he and his wife heard shots around the time Carla Burns disappeared, but they thought someone was squirrel hunting and “didn’t think anything about it.” He also said he and his wife noticed buzzards circling a vacant wooded area in the neighborhood for two or three days.

Authorities haven’t released details on the missing woman’s remains or what led them to suspect her husband.

Brian Burns is being held on $1 million bond. It wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.

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