48 Hours on ID is investigating the death of Shanti Cooper, who died in her Orlando home in 2018; her husband, David Tronnes, says it was an accident, but the police say he murdered her during an argument.
Cooper and Tronnes first met in 2013 on match.com and began an intense online relationship. At the start of the affair, Tronnes was living in Minnesota, but it only took a couple of years for him to join Shanti in Orlando, where he bought a house. The pair married in 2017.
They began extensive renovations on the house, with Shanti footing most of the bill for the construction work. Unfortunately, the work got a bit out of control; it went on for years, and the house got no closer to completion.
On April 24, 2018, Tronnes dialed 911 “My wife. I found my wife; she’s not breathing. I tried to do CPR, I can’t get her to breathe.” When the first responders arrived, they pronounced the 39-year-old Shanti dead.
Tronnes was taken into Orlando Police HQ for questioning; he appeared willing and cooperative towards the cops. He told them that he’d been out walking the dogs and had returned to find Shanti floating in the bathtub. She was wearing her pajamas, and the water was still running.
The cops don’t believe David Tronnes’ story
Tronnes suggested to the investigators that his wife must have slipped or had a blackout and fallen into the tub. However, the cops were skeptical of his story. For one thing, there had been no water in the bath when they arrived at the scene.
The police were also suspicious of Shanti’s injuries, which appeared inconsistent with falling into a bathtub. An autopsy confirmed these suspicions when it was revealed that the victim had been strangled and had received a blunt force trauma to the head.
Tronnes then argued that an assailant must have broken into the house and attacked her while he was walking the dogs. He suggested that her missing engagement ring might mean that she had been robbed. However, the ring was later found amongst his possessions.
The investigators formed a theory that Tronnes had become obsessed with the house and the renovations. They believe that Shanti had become fed up with the hassle and cost of the work and may have threatened to cut off the cash flow.
The police believe that Tronnes killed his wife in the ensuing argument.
Tronnes was arrested approximately 4 months after Shanti’s murder, but he has not been convicted. He is currently in custody in Orange County jail, still awaiting his trial, which has been postponed numerous times. He continues to profess his innocence.
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48 Hours on ID airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.