A Florida man was arrested Wednesday for the murder of his wife after her dismembered body was found in three suitcases at different locations in a Delray Beach canal.
William Lowe, 78, is accused of first-degree murder and abusing a dead body in the killing of his 80-year-old wife Aydil Barbosa Fontes, who was identified through dental records.
Her remains were discovered July 21 after Delray Beach police received a 911 call and found a suitcase floating in the Intracoastal Waterway with a “foot protruding through the zipper,” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Fox News Digital.
The suitcase contained a set of human legs.
The Intracoastal Waterway is a canal that flows parallel to Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts and is known for stretches of multimillion-dollar homes with private docks.
Later that same day, two more suitcases were found within one mile of the first. One contained a human torso without hands or a head and was weighted down with landscaping rocks, the affidavit says.
The third contained a pelvis and a plastic Cheescake Factory bag also filled with rocks.
The next day, investigators canvassed the waterway and made another grisly find: a tote bag containing a woman’s head with a single gunshot wound behind her ear.
The Delray Beach Police Department held a press conference last week asking for the public’s help identifying the unknown woman and released a computer-generated image of her based on her remains.
A witness came forward and told detectives that for several days prior to the gruesome discovery, a man had visited the area at least five times over a three-day period and, at one point, stared at a suitcase bobbing in the water.
The witness approached the man, who appeared nervous. The man allegedly said he was waiting for the “big boat to come into the harbor” but the witness noted that the canal is too shallow for large vessels.
Investigators soon spoke to more than a dozen witnesses. Many had seen the same man in the area driving a gold Ford Taurus and acting suspiciously.
Some of the neighbors also had surveillance video, including footage of the man climbing down a resident’s dock ladder on July 20 carrying a Cheesecake Factory bag.
Detectives spotted a gold Ford Taurus near the waterway and ran the vehicle’s tag number. The car was registered to Lowe, who lives .1 mile from where one of the suitcases was recovered.
Police took Lowe to the station to take a sample of his DNA. He told investigators that his wife was in Brazil and had been there for three weeks but did not know how she got to the airport or which airline she took, the affidavit says.
Police executed a search warrant on Lowe’s home on July 31 and found blood in every room of the house, cleaning supplies, and a 9mm gun in the drawer of a desk.
During the 18-hour search, Lowe was allegedly caught trying to enter the home through a window.
Officers stopped him, and he said he was trying to retrieve his phone and the keys to his storage unit, alerting investigators to another possible location they should search.
A warrant was executed Aug. 2 at Security Storage of Delray, and police found a “Ryobi chainsaw that appeared to have blood on the blade” and “bone matter, flesh and human hair in the housing of the saw.”
Lowe was arrested that night.
Lead Detective Mike Liberta described the scene at Lowe’s home at a news conference Thursday as “probably the worst I’ve seen because he dismembered a body.”
A lawyer for Lowe could not immediately be identified. He is being held without bond at the Palm Beach County Detention Center.