Evil wife made lover chop up husband with chainsaw – then reported him missing

Frank Stonemark was well-known in DeSoto, Illinois.

Hardworking, he had built up a successful rental property business with his first wife.

Their three children all had a role in the family business and the company steadily grew.

But after 30 years of marriage, Frank and his wife divorced. He bought her out of the business and they started new lives apart.

The split was a shock, but then it was revealed that Frank, then 55, had been having an affair with one of his tenants, Carmen Noland, who was 33.

After the divorce, Frank and Carmen became an official couple.

The pair married in 2010 and Frank tried to get his children to accept the new woman in his life.

But Frank’s loved ones were suspicious of Carmen’s motives. Were her feelings for Frank genuine? She seemed to enjoy all the trappings of having a wealthy husband and she would flirt with employees of the business.

As Frank aged into his mid-70s, he began to delegate more of his business to Carmen. He was suffering from health problems and was starting to take more of a back seat.

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After a lifetime of hard work, he was looking forward to his retirement years.

But on 30 October 2017, Carmen went to the police with some worrying information. She reported that Frank was missing and claimed that the day before, she and her husband had argued.

She added that after the row, Frank had walked out, driven off in his minivan, and hadn’t returned.

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Carmen admitted that it wasn’t unusual for him to storm off after an argument, but he wasn’t usually away for a whole day.

She told the police she was concerned because Frank was prescribed various medications for his ailments and he hadn’t taken them with him.

The police started searching for Frank, but there were no leads. They questioned family members, friends, and business associates – they even searched some of his rental properties, but there was no trace of him.

Missing passport

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On 3 November, Carmen got back in touch with the police again with some more information. She said she’d discovered that Frank’s passport was missing.

Carmen speculated that Frank might have gone to the Dominican Republic, as he’d once had a property out there. However, investigators couldn’t find any evidence that he had bought a plane ticket, or that he had used his passport.

Detectives continued to look through statements and financial records, as well as interviewing anyone who had worked with Frank. One of those interviewed was James Deese, 52, a maintenance man.

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He told the police that he’d seen Frank on 29 October and that he had seemed upset, but he didn’t know why.

Shortly after this, Carmen told police that Frank had a gambling problem and, after a losing streak, had been asking people for a loan.

Detectives wondered whether Frank had been borrowing from someone he shouldn’t have. But when they investigated, they discovered that Frank hadn’t visited a casino in over two years.

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The police couldn’t fault Carmen for coming forward repeatedly and trying to assist, but as they started to piece together Frank’s life, they also began looking into Carmen’s movements.

It turned out there was much more to her flirting and that she wasn’t the devoted wife she had at first seemed.

A handyman who had worked for Frank’s company revealed he’d had an affair with Carmen – and that he wasn’t the only one.

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As investigators delved deeper, they found out that Carmen had been unfaithful with several of the firm’s maintenance men.

On 17 March 2018, Frank’s minivan was finally discovered in a car park in Paducah, Kentucky.

When the police looked inside the vehicle, they found bloodstains – tragic proof that something bad had happened to Frank.

Detectives believed they were now getting closer to the truth. And, as it turned out, the answers they were looking for would seek them out first.

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Five months after Frank disappeared, James Deese called the police and made a shocking admission.

He told them Frank was dead – and that Carmen was to blame. He explained that on the night of 29 October, Carmen summoned him to her home and when he arrived, Frank was lying dead on the floor.

She wouldn’t tell James how he had died, but James said he could see blood.

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Carmen told him that he would not only lose his job but also his home – a property owned by Frank Stonemark’s firm – if James didn’t help her.

James said the two of them had moved the body to one of Frank’s rental houses and then they had driven the minivan across to another state.

Only something didn’t quite add up. Why would James get involved in a potential murder case because Carmen told him to? It was then that James admitted that he’d been having an affair with Carmen.

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As he was being questioned, Carmen also contacted police and reported a break-in at one of Frank’s properties, naming James as a suspect.

It seemed the lovers were starting to turn on each other. James was told about Carmen pointing the finger at him and the police suggested that he needed to be fully cooperative and tell them everything.

Finally, James revealed the gruesome reality of what had happened to Frank. James said that after he started seeing Carmen, she admitted her marriage was on the rocks.

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She was worried that her repeated infidelities would mean Frank would cut her out of his will, so they started plotting to kill Frank.

Carmen told James that once they killed Frank, they would be together and "live happily ever after".

James also admitted he and Carmen had both been at Frank’s home on 29 October and James had strangled Frank.

He told police he had grabbed Frank around the neck and squeezed until he heard a pop.

Sawn in half

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The pair then moved Frank’s body to one of his properties, using the minivan, and months later returned to dismember it.

James said they used a chainsaw that Carmen had given him, along with other tools, to cut Frank’s corpse up. James described how he had cut off Frank’s arms, legs, and head – then sawn his torso in half.

Afterwards, the two of them had stuffed the body parts into rubbish bags, which they then incinerated in burn barrels.

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James provided maps of where to find the burnt-out barrels. When investigators visited the scene, they found visible traces of remains, which were sent to the Illinois State Police crime lab for further analysis.

He agreed to call Carmen so that their conversation could be recorded. Carmen, unaware that her lover had already revealed what they’d done, was in fact making a legal claim on Frank’s estate, which would prove to be unsuccessful.

Eventually, she was brought in for questioning. At first, she continued to lie, but when she was informed that James had confessed, she requested a lawyer.

In July 2018, James Deese pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to testify against Carmen.

Carmen was taken into custody on a $2.5 million bail. In July 2019, Carmen finally pleaded guilty to first-degree solicitation to commit murder and concealment of a murder.

On 15 July 2020, Carmen, 55, was sentenced to a 20-year prison sentence and will not be eligible for parole until she is 70.

That same month, James, 54, received a 25-year sentence for his role in the murder and dismemberment of Frank Stonemark.

Because there is no early release programme, he’ll be required to serve the full term of the sentence.

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