Doctor accused of shooting estranged wife and burning her body

Investigators say a man charged with murder after his wife’s disappearance shot her, burned her body, and then spread her ashes to try and conceal her death.

The woman, 49-year-old Carla Burns, disappeared more than a week ago in southern Illinois.

Carla’s estranged husband, 56-year-old Brian Burns, is now charged with two counts of first degree murder and concealment of homicidal death.

Brian had been a family practice physician for 27 years and worked at Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro.

While neighbors were shocked by Carla’s disappearance, court records detail a rocky past between the couple.

After living in this neck of the woods for the past 71 years, Roger Horton says many of his neighbors keep to themselves. So, he was surprised to find people walking around behind his house last night.

"I’ve got to know what’s happening,” said Horton. “I went up there, and it was a gentleman, a lady, and a dog. And they explained to me that there was a lady out here missing in this area."

They were looking for Carla, who taught nursing at Southeastern Illinois College. 

In a statement, her colleagues said they became worried when she didn’t show up for work or call anybody last week. 

After multiple failed attempts to reach her, the college notified the authorities that she was missing.

"If the lady needed help, she could come here,” said Horton. “She could come to me. I would’ve seen to it that she was OK."

Court records show Carla had filed three separate restraining orders against Brian since filing for divorce in December of 2014.

Brian refused to sign the divorce papers, which a judge set for mediation last Thursday.

“I certainly hope there is justice,” said Horton.

Brian Burns is in the Saline County jail. The Saline County Sheriff’s Office says his bond is set at $1 million. 

The Saline County sheriff has called a news conference for 10 a.m. Friday. We will have a crew there and will bring you new developments as we get them.

This story has been updated to add the amount for Brian Burns’ bond. 

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