Man charged after girlfriend's body found in car trunk

By Sarah Panko, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, December 22, 2017, 6:47 PM EST

A man has been charged with second-degree murder after the body of his girlfriend was found in the car he was driving.

  • William Francis Roberts charged with murder in death of girlfriend
  • Girlfriend's body was found in trunk of car, investigators say
  • Deputies: Roberts told friend that woman was dead and he tried CPR

William Francis Roberts is also charged with fleeing and eluding and the transportation of human remains, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said.

Earlier this week, deputies said Roberts told a friend that he got into an argument with his girlfriend, Elizabeth Ann Hellstrom. He told his friend that Hellstrom was dead and that he found 30 prescription pills missing, investigators said. He reportedly said he tried CPR but nothing worked and that he wanted to commit suicide.

The Sheriff's Office put out a bulletin for Roberts and Hellstrom, saying they were missing and endangered.

On Thursday, deputies in Volusia County spotted a car that the couple were thought to be in and chased it into Lake County.

Roberts was arrested at his house on Aspen Street in Eustis on Thursday — where deputies say they found Hellstrom's body in the trunk of the car.

"Once they opened the car door, they could tell something was wrong because of the smell. They found her wrapped in a tarp in the trunk," said Sgt. Fred Jones with the Lake Sheriff's Office.

Roberts told authorities that Hellstrom died of an overdose. But authorities say an autopsy determined there was blunt trauma to Hellstrom's body and signs of strangulation, and her death was ruled a homicide.

An arrest affidavit says Roberts uttered, "It was an accident, I did not do it on purpose," when he was being placed in a patrol vehicle.

According to Roberts' arrest report, he has a criminal history dating back to 1979, with arrests for murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.  


William Francis Roberts (Lake County Sheriff's Office)