WICHITA, Kan. -- Authorities Thursday charged a funeral home worker with first-degree murder in the death of his ex-wife, whose cremated remains were found this week in a metal bucket.
Prosecutors allege Randy Pioletti, 29, who recently lost a bitter child custody battle, killed Karen Baile and then reduced her body to ashes in a crematorium at the Lakeview Funeral Home, where Pioletti's duties as a part-time attendant included ushering mourners to viewing rooms.
Pioletti appeared in Sedgwick County District Court with lawyer Lyle Britt, who represented him during his divorce, which became final Dec. 2. Judge Paul Clark set Pioletti's bond at $500,000 and ordered him to appear in court on Dec. 16.
'Randy can't believe he's being charged and is having difficulty believing she's dead,' Britt said. 'He's in shock. He still wanted to be married to her.'
Baile, 32, was last seen Monday night after leaving her three children with a baby sitter to meet her ex-husband to go Christmas shopping.
Police were called to a home on the city's south side Tuesday after a woman said she saw Pioletti leave a bucket of ashes in her garage late Monday.
Dr. William Eckert, deputy Sedgwick County coroner and a forensic pathologist, has already ruled that ashes found in the 5-gallon bucket were those of Baile. Some of her belongings were found in the bucket.
Pioletti is the father of a 2-year-old child with Baile, who had two other children from a previous marriage.