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Police: Suspect pool still wide open

Courtney Astolfi • Mar 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Sandusky police continue to whittle down the list of suspects in the Dec. 3 murder of George Martin.

“It’s a big whodunnit, mainly because th ere’s no clear-cut motive established to point us in the right direction,” Sandusky police Detective Gary Wichman said Friday. “W hich leaves the pool wide open still”

Martin, 86, was stabbed to death inside his Campbell Street home. His attack ers set the place on fire before fleeing, destroying much of the evidence.

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While it’s now been three months since the murder, detectives continue to follow leads.    They’ve compiled lists of suspects, reviewed hours of video surveillance footage and submitted scores of samples to a state crime lab for forensic testing.

Detectives said they’ve ruled out many of the initial suspects, but the list remains long. At times, it continues to grow, Wichman said.

Police have zeroed in on Martin’s circle of acquaintances, relatives and neighbors.

On Wednesday, officers served a search warrant on the hotel room where Florence Martin, George’s widow, is staying. They confiscated her computer and also impounded her car to search for evidence.

But that’s not to say Florence was involved, Wichman said.

“That’s the only means of communication we haven’t looked into yet,” Wichman said. “The whole premise of (executing the warrant) is to eliminate her as a suspect”

Wichman also said a promising lead surfaced in recent days, but he declined to elaborate. He said officials seized evidence and sent it to a crime lab for analysis.

As for the large batch of evidence sent to the crime lab earlier this year, Wichman said investigators are nearing completion on those results. None of the items sent in for testing thus far are suspected murder weapons.

Surveillance footage recorded by cameras on buildings near Martin’s home showed two shadowy figures approaching the home about 45 minutes before Martin’s body was discovered. The two people were then seen leaving the area in a hurry, with neighbors dialing 911 moments later to report a fire at the home.

The two figures caught on video are prime suspects, police have said.

Wichman has also enlisted the help of Ohio State Fire Marshal’s office to analyze the timeline of the fire’s spread.

“I’m fairly confident the fire wasn’t burning that long,” Wichman said.

The amount of time the two suspects spent inside Martin’s home that night indicates Martin was familiar with them, Wichman said.

A $10,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest. The tips Sandusky police have already received have produced no solid leads, Wichman said.

“That’s highly unusual,” he said. “It just tells us it’s more within a tight circle, possibly. Usually people brag on the street”

Anyone with information can call Sandusky police at 419-627-5877.

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