Police have been chipping away at the case since firefighters discovered the 86-year-old’s body riddled with stab wounds in his basement on Dec. 3. Martin’s killers torched his Campbell Street home in an attempt to cover the crime, police said.
At least 10 pieces of evidence were submitted to Ohio BCI’s crime lab over the past two months, but the fire’s heat damaged the items, and no DNA matches were found other than Martin’s.
Last week, Sandusky police detectives Dana Newell and Gary Wichman hauled a new batch of evidence to the lab and conferred with agents about the ongoing case.
“We pretty much took everything we had up there” Wichman said.
Police have collected more than 70 DNA samples and potential pieces of evidence connected with the case. Many of those samples are DNA swabs from people police have interviewed, Wichman said, but mixed in the lot are also items found at the crime scene.
While they were there, Wichman and Newell exchanged notes with BCI agents about the investigation.
“They listened to what we’ve done so far and basically gave their input on that,” Wichman said. “They gave a few more suggestions, but they felt we’re headed in the right direction”
Wichman said BCI’s priority is developing a DNA profile of the likely killer, or killers, and Sandusky police will continue working on leads until those DNA results produce a match.
Investigators have interviewed a myriad of people since the night Martin died, ruling out many of them as suspects.
“It’s a process of elimination. We definitely have four angles we’re looking at” Wichman said, adding they may soon rule out one of those leads.
A large part of the investigation thus far has been piecing together the order of events in the hours before Martin died, Wichman said.
“We’re working with (the state) fire marshals to learn about the progression of the fire, which will give us a better timeline” Wichman said.
Surveillance footage shows two people hurrying from the area minutes before neighbors reported the fire, and two people approaching the home about 45 minutes prior.
It’s been more than two months since Martin was killed, but Wichman is confident Sandusky police are headed in the right direction.
“Every day we’re making progress, talking with witnesses, watching videos, working the case” he said. “We haven’t taken any steps back and we haven’t hit any slumps”
A $5,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest. Wichman again asked community members to come forward with anything suspicious they may have seen that night.