Florida Keys

Keys man charged with killing a woman whose body was found in woods

Steven Wolf in his current Monroe County Sheriff’s Office mugshot
Steven Wolf in his current Monroe County Sheriff’s Office mugshot

Monroe County prosecutors formally charged the Marathon man accused of raping and murdering a woman the day before Thanksgiving and dumping her naked body in the woods by the Vaca Cut Bridge.

Steven Matthew Wolf, 58, was charged Thursday with second-degree murder, two counts of sexual battery, unlawful disturbance of a body and evidence tampering. The first two charges carry possible life sentences.

Assistant State Attorney Colleen Dunne filed the charges, but would not comment on the case.

Wolf raped and strangled Michelle Osborne, 51, on Nov. 21, prosecutors say. A fisherman found her body in the woods that afternoon, but it was almost a week before Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detectives were able to identify the body by matching her fingerprints, said Adam Linhardt, sheriff’s office spokesman.

Osborne was homeless and lived in Janesville, Wisconsin, before moving to the Middle Keys, according to the sheriff’s office. She had worked as a substance abuse treatment center manager in Janesville, according to online records.

Detectives say the crime scene indicated she was dragged off a walking trail into the woods. According to the state attorney’s charging document, Osborne was strangled with some sort of ligature.

The wooded area where the body was found looked as though a vehicle had driven through it, and broken automobile parts were found on the ground.

Just hours after Osborne’s body was discovered, deputies found a Dodge conversion van parked at the Kmart shopping plaza at 5585 Overseas Highway. It had missing parts similar to the ones found in the woods and branches were stuck underneath the vehicle, Detective Rosa DiGiovanni said.

Wolf was inside the van, and it appeared from the bed, stove top and hanging clothes that he was living in the vehicle. There was also a more grisly find inside the van: a lot of blood. Deputies also found bloody sheets placed in dumpsters throughout the city. He was arrested Nov. 23 and held on a murder charge, but the formal charging documents weren’t filed until Thursday.

Wolf has an extensive criminal history in his native Boise, Idaho, including a first-degree murder conviction in 1977, according to records released by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office. A year earlier, Wolf and three of his friends smothered an elderly man to death with a pillow, the records show. They had broken into his house to steal his $119 Social Security check.