- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 17 (UPI) — A murder charge was filed Friday against the husband of a San Antonio businesswoman who was missing for more than seven weeks.

District Attorney Susan Reed charged Richard McFarland with murder in the death of his wife, Susan, whose burned body was found on an abandoned farm Tuesday. The SBC Corp. executive had been the focus of a search since she vanished Nov. 25.

"This case represents the cruelest of action and the most tragic of results," Reed said.

McFarland was already in the county jail on charges of tampering with a witness, tampering with physical evidence, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He was arrested the same day his wife's body was found.

Reed said the murder was the result of a plan by McFarland to kill his wife and dispose of her body. He was not charged with capital murder so he will not face the death penalty if he is convicted. He could receive up to 99 years in prison.

An autopsy revealed a blow to the head killed Mrs. McFarland. Texas Rangers said bloodstains were found in several locations in the master bathroom and master bedroom of the McFarland home in Terrell Hills, a high profile San Antonio suburb.

McFarland has a court appearance scheduled next Friday when a bond reduction will be considered. He was being held in lieu of a $450,000 bond on the previous charges. A bond was not set yet on the murder charge.

McFarland vanished at a time when she was preparing to serve her husband with divorce papers.

The couple's three sons are in protective custody and a hearing on their future is also scheduled next Friday. They were removed from their father Tuesday.

The body was found on an abandoned farm in southeast Bexar County after a tipster informed authorities that "suspicious vehicles" had been seen in the field about the time Mrs. McFarland vanished.

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