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Accomplished equestrian and husband found dead in home ‘burned to the ground’ were murdered; police hunt for suspects

Investigators in Florida need the public’s help to solve the killing of a couple whose remains were found inside the burned remnants of their home, Ocala-News.com reports.

The Marion County Medical Examiner’s Office this week ruled the deaths of 29-year-old Ariel Prim and her 37-year-old husband, Robert Cooper, as homicides.

Firefighters in July found the couple’s bodies inside their Ocala mobile home, which the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said was  “burned to the ground,” according to the report. A neighbor had reportedly called authorities to report a structure fire on the morning of July 28.

Crews had to break through two locked gates just to enter the residence.

Since then, the investigation appears to have been slow-moving. The bodies were not positively identified until December when DNA results came back, reportedly prompting authorities to label the deaths as “suspicious.” A determination on the manner of death was not made until this week.

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Prim and Cooper had maintained a long-distance friendship before becoming involved romantically and then eventually marrying in November 2015, Prim’s mother, Lisa Weinmann, told the Ocala Star-Banner.

Prim was a well-respected equestrian from New York and moved to Florida to be with Cooper.

“She was a beautiful and loving person,” Weinmann said of her daughter in an interview with the Ocala Star-Banner in December.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information sufficient to bring an arrest. To contact investigators, call Marion County Crime Stoppers at 352-368-STOP (7867) or reach out to Detective Billy Burleson directly at 352-368-3542.

“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,” a news release from the sheriff’s office states.

Ocala is about 80 miles northwest of Orlando.

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[Feature image: Robert Cooper and Ariel Prim/Marion County Sheriff’s Office]