2 charged in death of missing Estero woman whose body was found in northern Lee


 Name: Neuberger, Christopher Allen
 Charge: Fraud False Owner Info Pawned Items Less Than $300
 Residence: Cape Coral, FL
 Age: 25


  • Name: Neuberger, Christopher Allen
  • Charge: Fraud False Owner Info Pawned Items Less Than $300
  • Residence: Cape Coral, FL
  • Age: 25

Mary Ann Zarb

Mary Ann Zarb

— The search for a missing Estero woman is over.

With several friends and family members of Mary Ann Zarb by his side, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott announced Tuesday night that the 64-year-old woman’s body was found earlier in the day near the Lee County-Charlotte County line.

Two Lee County men have been arrested in connection with Zarb’s death. Christopher Allen Neuberger, 25, of 1000 block Pacific Avenue, North Fort Myers, and Shane Steven Simpkins, 24, of the 2000 block of NE 34th Terrace, Cape Coral, were arrested and charged with felony murder, occupied armed burglary and theft over $120,000.

“Those are initial charges,” Scott said. “We continue to work this case.”

Details of the crime, including the cause of death, are not being disclosed at this time, sheriff’s officials said.

However, Lee County Sheriff’s Lt. Ryan Bell confirmed Tuesday night that the Sheriff’s Office is not looking for any additional suspects.

“We have everyone responsible for her death in custody,” Bell said after the press conference.

The announcement brought to a close the two-week search for Zarb.

About four months ago, shortly after the death of her husband, Zarb moved to a small community, The Villages of Country Creek, in Estero. Described as a warm, caring person, she was making friends, her family said during an April 19 press conference at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Friends and family became concerned when they had not seen nor heard from Zarb since April 11, which was highly uncharacteristic of the woman who spoke to her children daily and doted on her dog who was left behind, her family and investigators say.

Zarb’s family even offered a $5,000 reward through Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers to anyone who would come forward with information leading to their mother’s whereabouts.

On April 15, investigators found four people at her home in the 20000 block of Country Club Drive, the day deputies were asked to check on Zarb. A deputy found Zarb’s car, a white Ford Escape in the driveway. He also saw a man inside snorting something white from a table.

The four were arrested and deputies impounded Zarb’s car.

According to a Sheriff’s Office reports, Simpkins was one of the people arrested and was seen by deputies snorting a substance. He was charged with possession of cocaine.

Three others also were arrested: Tiffany Marie Sipp, 17, on drug charges, Stephen Patrick Smutney, 19, for resisting arrest, and Nicole Rae Durden, 18, of the 7500 block of Suncoast Drive in North Fort Myers, on paraphernalia charges. Sipp and Smutney list the same address as Simpkins.

“This is a horrific crime that gripped this community for 12 days,” Scott said Tuesday night.

Zarb’s daughter Julie Temperly was on hand for Tuesday’s announcement and thanked the Sheriff’s Office for their efforts.

“They haven’t stopped since the moment I called in on Friday and said I wanted them to go by my mom’s house and check,” she said choking up.

Temperly also thanked the community for their help in finding her mother.

“My whole family thanks you for having the courage to come forward and calling the Crime Stoppers line,” she said.

Temperly said the family is dealing with Zarb’s loss, but that with her body being located they would have closure.

“At least she has been found and we don’t have to wonder,” she said.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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