By BOB PALMER
A cross-country manhunt for the killer of a Florida woman ended at a rural house outside Jefferson, Aug. 15 with the arrest of Christopher Takhvar.
Takhvar, 43, was sought for the June murder and dismemberment of Robin Lee Upson, 63, of Belleview, Fla. They had been friends and business partners for 20 years.
US Marshal’s Office Special Deputy William Blair quickly became involved in the case.
“I started assisting in the case after the sheriff’s office major crimes unit developed a suspect,” Blair said.
“I learned that after committing the act in Marion County, Florida, Takhvar fled to Orlando,” Blair continued. “I was able to learn Takhvar traveled through the Southern states to California.”
Takhvar may have attempted to flee to Hawaii where he had operated a business. The fugitive’s trail, however, returned to Texas.
“I learned he was going back to the area of Jefferson, Tex. where he had family members residing,” Blair explained. “I then contacted the US Marshal’s office out of Marshall. With their assistance, we were able to determine he was staying with a friend.”
US Marshals located Takhvar in a yellow-frame house on Lassater Road in Marion County. The suspect was placed in Harrison Co jail and ultimately transported back Marion County, Florida.
According to official documents, Takhvar has made a statement admitting to killing and dismembering Upson, but contends he acted in self-defense.
Investigating officers disagree.
“Detective (Aaron) Levy conducted a review of the evidence in this case and refuted any and all claims made by Takhvar that this was a case of self-defense,” a press release from the Marion County, Florida Sheriff’s Office stated.
Authorities charged Takhvar with second degree murder and he is being held without bond.
Body parts discovered by a hiker in the Ocala National Forest first alerted officers to the crime.
On June 11, Florida deputies responded to a location near the intersection of NE 115th Avenue and East Highway 40 in the Forest in reference to human remains found there.
Deputies found a woman’s torso, which was missing its head and appendages. A photo of a robin bird tattoo found on the remains was posted to the sheriff’s office Facebook page in an effort to identify the victim, who was positively identified as Robin Upson.
The victim’s family said Robin’s friend Christopher Takhvar had borrowed their van but failed to return it. In the meantime, detectives executed a search warrant of Robin’s home and found that the murder and dismemberment had occurred there.
Among the evidence officers discovered was a blood-stained reciprocal saw, according to an official report.
The family’s van was later located in Orlando, and detectives discovered evidence that Takhvar was the sole occupant of the vehicle and had used the van to transport and dispose of Robin’s remains.
After Takhvar’s arrest, he was interviewed by officers. An affidavit submitted to the court recounted the defendant’s version of what happened.
“He claimed the victim came at him with a knife while he was holding an electric chainsaw. Defendant Takhvar stated he raised the chainsaw to block the victim’s attack and he accidentally turned the chainsaw on, cutting her arm and nearly decapitating her head. He further admitted to completely dismembering the victim and disposing of her torso in the Ocala National Forest. Defendant Takhvar also advised he buried the victim’s head, arms, and legs in her backyard.”
Investigators returned to the victim’s house and recovered the “victim’s head and limbs” along with other items.
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