KINGMAN — A Kingman couple who reportedly admitted killing a woman in a child custody dispute has been indicted by a Mohave County Grand jury.

Carrie Vanover, 23, and Mark Baldonado, 31, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Vanover’s mother.

The defendants, whose confessions are detailed in court records, reportedly were upset that Shawn Vanover, 62, had custody of her granddaughter, Carrie Vanover’s 5-year-old daughter. The probable cause affidavit said Carrie was late-term pregnant when she and Baldonado decided to kill her mother because Shawn Vanover had threatened to seek custody of Carrie’s son after his impending birth.

The document indicated that the victim moved in with the couple within days of the April 14 murder. Baldonado told investigators that he gave Shawn Vanover two Seroquel pills, hoping she would become drowsy and vulnerable to attack.

Baldonado reportedly told the case detective that the plan didn’t work because Shawn was up and down all night and made coffee the next morning at about 6 a.m. Carrie Vanover reportedly told the detective that she got a cup of coffee from her mom and was going back to her bedroom when she spotted Baldonado in a bathroom, clutching a hammer.

“While in the bedroom she heard Shawn screaming. Mark came into the room stating Shawn was still breathing,” the affidafit stated. “He grabbed a black gun from the night stand and headed back to the kitchen. Carrie stated she heard two gunshots.”

Baldonado reportedly told the detective he didn’t recall striking her, but remembered standing over Shawn with the hammer before shooting her twice with the .380-caliber weapon. Carrie Vanover reportedly said she cleaned up blood in the kitchen while Baldonado stuffed her mother’s body into a 55-gallon drum that was buried in the backyard of the property of the 4500 block of Glenn Road in north Kingman.

The barrel and Shawn Vanover’s body were recovered July 17, five days after an investigation began when an unidentified party indicated Shawn Vanover had been murdered and was buried on the parcel. 

The confessed defendants also are charged with kidnapping for unlawfully taking custody of the 5-year-old girl at the time of the murder. The sheriff’s office said Carrie Vanover gave birth to a boy about a month after the killing and that both children were placed in care of the state.

The defendants also are charged with abandonment of a dead body and theft counts associated with the victim’s vehicle and credit cards. They are held at the Mohave County Adult Detention Center in Kingman on $1 million bond while awaiting an Aug. 27 pretrial conference.

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