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Homosassa man arrested in murder case

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Wendy Biddlecombe
Hernando Today
A Homosassa man is in custody and facing charges in the murder of a Brooksville teen.

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Byron Lee Boutin, 44, was arrested Wednesday evening by Citrus County Sheriff’s Office investigators in Lecanto and charged with murder in the second degree in the death of DeAnna Lee Stires, 18. He also is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Boutin is being held at the Citrus County Detention Facility.

Stires was reported missing on New Year’s Day to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. Her body was found Jan. 18 in a wooded area off State Road 24 in the Levy County community of Otter Creek.

“It was extremely important to this agency and both the Hernando County and Levy County Sheriff’s Offices that we bring closure to the family of Ms. Stires,” Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said in a release.

“No one should have to experience what they’ve gone through. This was a particularly heinous crime done to such a young woman. I’m extremely grateful to my staff, who worked on this case around the clock to make an arrest.”

According to the Citrus County arrest affidavit, a witness told law enforcement that he had been with Stires from Dec. 23 through Christmas Day, and took drugs with her at multiple locations in Citrus and Hernando counties, including at Boutin’s house in Homosassa.

The report said Boutin and his girlfriend, Crystal Brinson, argued with Stires on Dec. 25 over missing methamphetamine, which they believed Stires stole.

The witness told law enforcement personnel that on Dec. 26, Boutin and Brinson said Stires became enraged and crazy, pulling Boutin’s belongings out of cabinets, and he attempted to subdue her with a “hot shot” — an “unknown injectable narcotic.”

Stires was reportedly bleeding, and Boutin and Brinson transported her to Boutin’s father’s barn in Brooksville.

The pair believed Stires was either “dead or not doing well,” according to the witness at the barn.

Evidence collected by investigators from Boutin’s house and car include blood samples and several guns, one of which had hair similar to the victim’s hair color and shade.

On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s crime lab confirmed the samples as being blood.

During interviews on Jan. 18 and 20, Boutin reportedly gave conflicting stories to investigators and denied involvement in Stires’ death and disappearance.

However, Boutin did say he picked up Stires off Mitchell Road in Brooksville and took her back to his home in Homosassa.

Boutin said Stires stayed at his house for a day, and when he left her alone in the house for a period of time, Stires ransacked the house and left, according to the report. That was Christmas Day.

On Wednesday of this week, Boutin reportedly said he wanted to tell Citrus County detectives “the truth,” in a sworn and recorded statement.

Boutin said after he and his girlfriend picked up Stires in Brooksville, they used drugs with her on Christmas Day. Boutin said he left Stires alone in his home on Dec. 25, and when he came back she had “torn up”€the house and was “acting crazy,” according to the report.
 

Stires, said Boutin, accused him of stealing clothing; and, Boutin later noticed a bag of his methamphetamine and a pipe missing. The bag was later found, but the pipe was never recovered.

After some argument over the meth, Boutin said Stires eventually calmed down, and that he saw Brinson give Stires what appeared to be a shot of morphine. A short time later, Boutin said Stires started “flipping out” and screaming as they were getting ready to leave for Brooksville and drop her off.

According to the report, information received from Boutin’s neighbors indicated that some time Christmas Day or in the early hours the day after Christmas, they heard a female screaming and it appeared to come from inside Boutin’s trailer. The screaming reportedly stopped abruptly and the only other sound the neighbor heard was when Boutin left about 6 a.m. Dec. 26 in his blue Lincoln Continental.
 

Boutin told investigators he witnessed his girlfriend hit Stires in the head with a pistol several times.

After the fight, Boutin said he put Stires in the back seat of his car, and decided to take her to his father’s Brooksville house off Centralia Road. Upon arrival, Boutin put Stires in a garage, saying she was snoring and sweating but he didn’t think anything was wrong because Stires had been up for a few days on methamphetamine.

At that time, Boutin said, he and Brinson tied up Stires with duct tape in case she woke up and started to “freak out" again. Boutin and Brinson also put a rag in her mouth and duct taped it shut.
 

Leaving Stires tied up, they reportedly left the house and returned an hour later and found her deceased.

He reportedly asked another witness for a secluded area to dump her body.

Boutin said a witness advised him to get rid of Stires’ body, and they used materials in the garage to do so.

Boutin said they put Stires’ body in the trunk of his car for two days, spending that time seeking a secluded spot to dump it.

Boutin said he had court the morning of Dec. 27, and afterward, drove up U.S. 19 and ultimately left her body in a secluded hunting area, “where he knew she would eventually be discovered,” according to the affidavit.

The CCSO’s major crimes Lt. Brad Smith said the investigation continues.

“As you can see by the arrest, this was a complicated situation that involved many different witnesses and locations. Bringing this case to a complete resolution continues to be a priority.”

Chronicle reporter A.B. Sidibe contributed to this report.