MARION COUNTY, Florida (December 10, 2018) – Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Major Crimes detectives have positively identified the remains of husband and wife, Robert Lee Cooper (DOB: 01/22/1981) and Ariel Vanessa Prim (DOB: 04/16/1989), whose remains were found inside their home after it had caught fire on July 28, 2018. Detectives are now asking for the public’s help in revealing any information that may bring some clarity to the suspicious circumstances surrounding their deaths.
On Saturday, July 28, Marion County Fire Rescue firefighters responded to 4030 SE 84th Lane
Road in Ocala in reference to a structure fire. When they arrived on scene, firefighters discovered the burnt remains of a mobile home. While searching the remnants of the residence, they discovered human remains inside the house and immediately requested the assistance of the MCSO. In the months following the incident, MCSO Major Crimes detectives conducted a thorough investigation into the deaths and finally received the DNA results confirming the remains to be Cooper’s and Prim’s on Wednesday, December 5, 2018. The State Fire Marshal has conducted an independent investigation into the cause of the fire, and the cause has not yet been determined. The Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled their deaths to be of undetermined causes, and detectives are investigating the couple’s deaths as suspicious.
If you have any information on the deaths of Robert Cooper and Ariel Prim, please contact Detective Billy Burleson at 352-368-3542. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can also contact the Crimestoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP.
UPDATE: The Florida Sheriff’s Association Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program and Marion County Crime Stoppers are now offering $5,000 for any information leading to an arrest in the deaths of Robert Cooper and Ariel Prim. Robert and Ariel were found deceased in their home after it had burned to the ground on July 28, 2018, and their deaths are considered suspicious. If you have any information on this case and would like to be eligible for the award, please contact the Marion County Crime Stoppers at 352-368-STOP.