2 charges dropped for woman who drove dead body around Sebastian, Florida

Andrea Sanchez
Andrea Sanchez

The defense lawyer representing the woman who drove around Sebastian with a dead body in the trunk has negotiated a settlement in the case in exchange for a no-contest plea.

Andrea Sanchez, 39, was initially charged with Abuse of a Dead Human Body, Tampering With Evidence, and Failure to Report a Death. 

“In a negotiated settlement, the State Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss charges of Abuse of a Dead Human Body and Tampering With Evidence, both felonies, in exchange for a no-contest plea to one count of Failure to Report a Death (Fla Stat 406.12), a misdemeanor,” Michael Kessler, Criminal Trial Lawyer, told Sebastian Daily.

Kessler also said that his client entered the plea Monday morning before 19th Judicial Circuit Court Dan Vaughn, who accepted it. 

The sentence will be four months in the county jail, which will amount to time served, more or less, according to Kessler. Formal sentencing has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, at 8:45 a.m.

John Swanigan
John Swanigan

The body was identified as John Swanigan of Vero Beach.

Sanchez, of California, was visiting a friend in Sebastian, where she met Swanigan at a party. He went missing but was last seen in Sanchez’s silver BMW. 

Investigators from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office began searching for the vehicle and asked the public for assistance. Not long after that, a Sebastian resident called into the tip line giving the address of where they saw a BMW matching the description.

Law enforcement arrived at the Sebastian residence on Dickens Avenue, where they found Sanchez raking leaves. When detectives introduced themselves to Sanchez, she asked if they were there about the “missing guy,” the report said. 

“Andrea (Sanchez) said she had been in communication with John’s (Swanigan) family,” the affidavit said.

However, detectives observed a foul odor near the BMW and asked Sanchez if they could search the vehicle, and she gave consent. They opened the truck and found Swanigan’s body covered with a blanket. 


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About Andy Hodges 2804 Articles
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland, and raised in Jupiter, Florida. He has been a radio and TV personality since the mid-1980s. He has worked for WFLX-TV (Fox 29), WIRK, WLIZ, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and others. In 1994, Andy took a break from broadcasting and was a software and systems engineer for various companies. In 2002, he permanently moved back to Sebastian, where Andy's family has lived for over 45 years. He returned to the broadcasting sector in 2005. Andy joined Sebastian Daily as our editor-in-chief in 2016.