Press conference held on man accused of killing estranged wife, burning body

Harrisburg man facing murder charges in connection with missing estranged wife
Carla Burns was last seen in Saline County on Tuesday, March 8 at around 3:30 p.m. (Source: Marion PD)
Carla Burns was last seen in Saline County on Tuesday, March 8 at around 3:30 p.m. (Source: Marion PD)
Law enforcement held a press conference on Friday, March 18 at 10 a.m. (Source: KFVS)
Law enforcement held a press conference on Friday, March 18 at 10 a.m. (Source: KFVS)

SALINE COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A Harrisburg, Illinois man is accused of shooting his estranged wife, burning her body and then spreading the ashes.

Law enforcement held a press conference at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 18 and went over the case. They did not release any new details.

Brian Burns, 56, was arrested on Wednesday, March 16 at 7:45 a.m. in Harrisburg. He was charged with two counts of first degree murder and concealing a homicidal death. His bond was set at $10 million and $1 million in cash.

Burns appeared in court on Monday, March 21 where the charges were read. His preliminary hearing was set for April 7 at 1 p.m.

According to the Saline County Sheriff's Office, numerous interviews with neighbors, friends, colleagues and others have been conducted; search warrants have been executed and this is an active and on-going investigation.

According to court documents, Brian Burns shot Carla Burns and then knowingly concealed her death by burning her body and spreading the ashes.

The Saline County Sheriff's Office stated Burns was arrested in connection with the disappearance of his estranged wife, 49-year-old Carla Burns, of Marion, Illinois.

Marion police said Carla Burns was reported missing on March 10 by family and friends. They told authorities she was seen in Marion on Tuesday, March 8 at 7:45 a.m.

According to Marion police, during the investigation they learned she was last seen at 3:30 p.m. in Saline County on March 8.

"Carla was a loving mother to two boys, a loving sister and daughter," a family member of Carla's who wishes to remain anonymous said. "She was a kind person who touched many lives through her nursing career and as a nurse instructor."

Carla's family said all of her relatives live in Texas.

Court documents show Carla and Brian Burns' marriage was rocky for some time before she went missing. Carla Burns filed for divorce in December 2014; and the two have been hashing out legal details ever since.

Documents show there was a review hearing scheduled for March 10, the same day family and friends reported Carla Burns missing.

Carla Burns was a nursing instructor at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg.

SIC issued the following statement:

"The SIC Family is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own, nursing instructor Carla Burns. The whole campus community mourns for her family and friends.

We have engaged specialist counselors from the health department to be available for Carla's students, and our hearts especially go out to our colleagues who worked with Carla day-to-day.  We have and will continue to work with authorities as the situation unfolds."

The investigation remains active and is being conducted by the Saline County Sheriff's Office, Marion Police Department, Illinois State Police, Williamson County Sheriff's Office, Saline County Coroner's Office, Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services, as well as other agencies.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Saline County Sheriff's Office at 618-252-8661 or the Marion Police Department at 618-993-2124.

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