Shanti Cooper-Tronnes: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?

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In 2018, Shanti Cooper-Tronnes was brutally murdered in her Florida house. When the police arrived at the crime scene, they suspected that it could be a case of a robbery gone wrong. But as new details emerged, the authorities learned that something more foul was at play. ABC’s ’20/20: A Killer Renovation’ delves deep into the case of the successful businesswoman, taking us through the events that led to the tragedy and the extensive investigation that followed. The episode also consists of exclusive interviews with Shanti’s son and ex-husband, both of whom told their versions of the story and expressed their views.

Shanti Cooper-Tronnes Was Found Dead in the Bathtub of Her Home

Shanti Cooper-Tronnes was the beloved daughter of Kishian Matani and also shared a close bond with her stepfather, Norman Dow. Later in life, she fell in love with James “Jim” Cooper. The two later got married and welcomed a son, Jackson Cooper, into their family. But when cracks began to develop in their bond and their connection deteriorated, the two filed for divorce, looking to go their separate ways. Around that time, in 2013, Shanti met David Tronnes in Minnesota through the online dating site named Match.

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Just like Shanti, David was going through a divorce as well. As time passed by, they bonded and grew closer to each other, and ultimately decided to move in together in 2015. A couple of years later, in 2017, the two decided to tie the knot. However, with so many aspirations and dreams still unfulfilled, Shanti lost her life the next year. On April 24, 2018, David found the lifeless body of his wife in the bathtub of their residence in Orlando, Florida. In a state of emotional distress and panic, he dialed 911.

According to David’s account, he tried to resuscitate his wife before calling the police. When the authorities arrived and inspected Shanti’s body and the house for clues, they discovered that she had been beaten brutally and bleeding from the head. After the autopsy result came in, it was determined that blunt force trauma to the head as well as strangulation were the cause of her unexpected demise. Without wasting any time, they declared Shanti’s case to be a homicide and launched an extensive investigation.

Uncovering of Secrets Led to the Death of Shanti Cooper-Tronnes

Once they were done collecting evidence from the crime scene, the detectives began the interrogation process and held interviews with Shanti’s close ones and other acquaintances. They learned that after they met on the dating site, David lied to her about his finances, allegedly telling her that he had inherited between $4 million and $6 million from his father. After their marriage, she funded most of the renovation of their main house while they stayed in the apartment above their garage for the time being. According to her friends, they had noticed that David hardly paid any of the bills and he was dependent on his wife financially.

Things started to get tense between the couple when David came up with the idea of appearing on the popular show ‘Zombie House Flipping.’ He had already invested thousands of dollars into the renovation for the same. However, Shanti was not a fan of the idea and did not want to participate in the show. This eventually led to some heated arguments between them. What made matters worse was when Shanti found out that David had lied about his inheritance and learned that he allegedly used to visit bathhouses and indulge in sexual acts with men. Following this revelation, the police conducted a five-hour-long interview with him and asked him to walk them through the timeline of Shanti’s death.

Maintaining his innocence, David claimed that he had taken the dogs out for a walk, and when he returned, he heard the sound of water running in his bathroom. When he went to check it out, he found his wife floating in the bathtub, he told the detectives. However, they believed his story was a fabrication as when they arrived at the crime scene, the businesswoman’s body was dry, which contradicted his claims about finding her immersed in the bathwater. According to the investigators’ theory, David caught Shanti by surprise the previous night while she was getting ready for bed as they found one earring on her ear and the other one on her nightstand along with her cell phone. Since she did not have any defensive wounds, it indicated that she was knocked out by the first blow to her head.

Furthermore, the police alleged that David physically assaulted and strangled Shanti and then went for a walk with his dogs per his claims. They believed that he then moved her body to the bathtub, took care of the mess he made, and then moved the body onto the mattress pad. After that, he made the call to the police, informing them about his wife’s death. Four months after Shanti’s murder, David was arrested and charged with her first-degree murder and held up in the Orange County Jail. His trial was scheduled to commence in the first week of February 2020, but it was delayed multiple times. But finally, in October 2023, the husband of the deceased was found guilty of murder by the jury.

After the guilty verdict, Shanti’s family finally felt relieved that justice had finally been served. Her son, James Cooper, stated that she was the best person he knew and said, “It’s like a weight that’s been lifted off of our shoulders.” Engulfed in anger and hurt ever since her death, her stepfather Norman Dow also expressed his feelings about it. He said, “This has affected me so much that it withdrew me from my grandson…Every time that I think of Jackson, it brings to my mind my daughter, and it upsets me.”

Read More: Carole Tronnes: Where is David Tronnes’ Ex-Wife Now?