Widow: Police treating me as a suspect

“They said they’re not accusing me of murdering my husband, but indirectly they are. I’m the number one suspect, so that tells me they’re accusing me of this”
Courtney Astolfi
Mar 25, 2014
The wife of murder victim George Martin says Sandusky police are mistreating her, but detectives say this is simply not the case.

Detectives said their interactions with Florence Martin, 81, are par for the course in any homicide investigation.

Florence would disagree.

“I’ve been treated so cruel by the city police” she said.

Last week, she reached out to the Register to tell her side of the story.

It’s now been about four months since her husband, George, 86, was found dead inside their Campbell Street home. His body was riddled with stab wounds, and the attackers set fire to the home in an attempt to destroy any evidence.

Police have yet to make an arrest, but they’ve compiled a long list of suspects.    

They’ve been ruling each person out, one by one, in hopes of identifying George’s killers.

Investigators have their sights set on two people who were recorded on nearby surveillance cameras on the night of the murder. Video footage shows the suspects approaching the Martins’ home, then leaving in a hurry less than two minutes before neighbors called police to report a fire at the home.

Those two people are prime suspects, Detective Gary Wichman said.

Included on the lengthy list of suspects, however, is Florence.

On March 5, detectives served a search warrant at the hotel room where Florence has been living since George died. There, they seized her computer, and they also obtained her consent to search her vehicle, Wichman said.

Investigators said they found drops of blood inside the car. The drops were swabbed and sent to a crime lab for testing. The data on Florence’s computer, meanwhile, is also being analyzed, Wichman said.

Florence’s car has been impounded as investigators await results from the crime lab that tested the blood swabs.

Florence alleges police tricked her into letting them search her vehicle. She said for the past three weeks, she has missed doctor appointments because she doesn’t have a car.

But Florence indeed signed off on the search of the vehicle, Wichman said.

“We have reason to believe she has a blood disorder and there’s a strong possibility the blood is hers,” Wichman said. “But again, we have to be thorough”

Said Florence: “They said they’re not accusing me of murdering my husband, but indirectly they are. I’m the number one suspect, so that tells me they’re accusing me of this”

Wichman disagrees.

“I’m fairly confident that we’re looking at the two people seen on video,” he said. “Unfortunately we came across blood, so we had no choice except to impound the vehicle.”

Florence said she wants to know why detectives have yet to return her car.

“They got the DNA out of my car” she said. “Why don’t they let me have my car? I’m not going anyplace.”

Wichman said detectives searched the vehicle so they could eliminate Florence as a suspect.

"We don’t believe she was directly involved,” Wichman said. “Our job is to eliminate (the possibility of) her involvement.”

In recent weeks, detectives have paired with fire investigators to nail down a timeline of the night George was killed.

As they probed the spread of the fire, they learned it was likely set shortly before firefighters were called. If that’s the case, Florence — who left the home about two hours prior — would have had no role in setting the fire, Wichman said.

“Going by the timeline, there’s physically no way she did it” Wichman said.

As for the seized computer?

“As far as I’m concerned, (they) stole it” Florence said.

“I said, ‘What’s my computer got to do with this?’” she said. “And they said, ‘You might’ve went online and tried to find out how to murder somebody.’”

Police have already reviewed Florence’s cellphone records and other material, but the computer would contain information that investigators had yet to review: Florence’s emails.

“With modern-day technology, it’s another source of communication,” Wichman said. “Obviously, most people use cellphones and landlines, but they also use computers and Facebook and email”

Even so, Florence feels like she’s been left in the dark.

“It’s harassment” she said. “They don’t call me back when I call them”

She alleges police have only talked to her once or twice since George’s death, and they’ve never interviewed her.

“I’ve been in frequent contact with her,” Wichman replied. “I’ve been to the place where she’s staying now numerous times, and I’ve talked to her on the phone several times. It’s almost been weekly”

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of George’s killers.

Comments

deertracker

Sorry Flo but the cops really are just doing their job.

OMGreally

yep sounds like it to me...I am sure she didnt directly do the murder...but that still leaves a lot of avenues of her involvement and they have to rule that out..and no i am not saying she did it or had someone do it..but it has to be ruled out

Licorice Schtick

Two important homicide rules:

Rule 1 - It's probably the spouse.
Rule 2 - If you discover it's not the spouse, see rule 1.

sandusky2012

thats the SPD for you .....Hey what ever happened to that cop we the taxpayers were paying for him to get so ZZZZZ on the job? while on duty?

KnuckleDragger

Why is this news. A quick google search will show that most people murdered by someone they know. The spouse is always a suspect and investigated when their husband or wife is murdered. Did she actually believe the police would not investigate her at all? The police are simply doing their job regardless of how much it may inconvenience the widow.

mikeylikesit

leave her alone and get to work solving this crime, losers..

slightthroat212

Oh, mikeylikesit. Those cops are just doing their jobs. they have to follow every lead they have. Stop grinding so much on the cops just because you and your bud have such a deep hatred for the cops. I am sure this lady is mad because they are inconveniencing her but the police have a job to do. Nothing more, nothing less.

Knuckledragger is right on the money. Read his post.

mikeylikesit

me and my bud? what?

yea right

yes the cops are doing their jobs..BUT they need to show some R E S P E C T

mikeylikesit

dream on..

doglegright

Obama told me it was R S P E C T....

YouMustBeJoking

Well, honestly when this happened, she was the first person that popped into my head. If she didn't have anything to do with it, she wouldn't be so angry about the "ruling out" process. Also, if she truly had nothing to do with her husbands death, she would appreciate the "leave no stone un-turned" method of law enforcement. The more she talks and complains to the media, the guiltier she looks

OMGreally

LOL I actually had the same thought..conveniently coming home just minutes after it happened...

MrSandusky

Why wasn't her computer in the house during the fire?

ladydye_5

That was my thought.

OMGreally

another good point...

OMG.LOL.WT_

I never thought to use Google to find how to murder someone. What a good idea. :) :) :)

Pterocarya frax...

Best bet is to use the google machine at the public library.

DGMutley

That's right. Just don't check any books out cause they check that too. lol

Good 2 B Me

SPD said they had suspects that they were looking in to via video. Every time that I see something concerning this story, I ask why they have not released said video so that the public may try to help. Makes me wonder what is going on. Sad story either way, but it is time to get moving on it!

doctorsRdrugdealer

I agree its been 4 months why no video especially if they have one.. Can the public see video it may help? Especially since the police cant figure it!!

lmalley77

They probably aren't releasing the video because there probably isn't much to see or they would have already arrested someone. At best, the video probably only shows two "figures" going into and coming from the Martin home since it was dark and the nearest surveillance camera was probably too far away to get a good picture of the suspects. I feel for Mrs Martin but I also agree that the police are just doing their jobs. There have been elderly people in the headlines before who have killed loved ones and the police have to rule that out. I'm NOT saying Mrs Martin is guilty, but all avenues must be checked in order for there to be a thorough investigation and hopefully eventually a conviction of whomever committed this heinous crime!

curious

re: MrSandusky/Ladydye_5
What makes you think her computer wasn't in the house? Have you been by there? It wasn't a total loss. It very well could have been in there during the fire. GEEZ!!

ladydye_5

Ok, thank you for pointing that out.

sandusky2012

maybe if the chief was a little more educated maybe they could solve the crime

Steve P

Has the Register looked into the possibility that the two subjects on the video are elected Sandusky County officials?

Babo

Now that's funny. But seriously, SPD should have duplicated her hard drive as soon as they obtained it and returned her computer. Also, they should have obtained all the forensics they needed from the car so that also should be returned.

She should hire a lawyer and file for return of her property.

Factitious

Um, no. They need the actual hard drive in question. They'll be looking for latent, deleted files, among other things, and any operation can begin to overwrite that. They don't want that information lost before they can see what's there.

Babo

Ah ..but there's this "minor" right called the Fourth Amendment. Did the search warrant provide probable cause to seize her computer? If so, it ought to be spelled out in the affidavit in support of the search warrant.

Spy's picture
Spy

"On March 5, detectives served a search warrant at the hotel room where Florence has been living since George died. There, they seized her computer, and they also obtained her consent to search her vehicle, Wichman said."

Also, for technical reasons, you can't just duplicate the hard drive. There could be deleted files that need recovered.

dorothy gale

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

sandusky2012

chief please do your job or at least get an education

JMOP

Glad my hubby is still alive. He works on our vehicles and seems to slice his finger on something every time. Even though it's cleaned up afterwards, I believe they have a light to detect it.

ladydye_5

Hopefully nothing ever happens to me. I once fell and broke my nose in my living room, on 100 year old hardwood floors. There is enough blood between the boards to put my husband away for years. LMAO!

CONCERNED MOM

ILLUMINATI? he was pretty high in the Freemasons.

jl0419

SPD is grasping at straws. As if this poor woman hasn't been through enough. Shame on you, SPD. As far as the surveilance video, If you look at the house across the street from the garage side of the Martin's house, you will see a camera mounted on the side of that house. I'm sure it is grainy and of no use in helping identify the two individuals entering and exiting the house.

Sal Dali

That line from Hamlet definitely comes to mind Dorothy. I'm sure there are senior services she qualifies for to get rides to her doctor or where ever she needs to go but it is inconvenient. Unfortunately, the police are doing their job in Sandusky and thoroughly investigating Mr. Martin's death. This might have been prevented had she lived in Sandusky County. However, this is the way a proper investigation is done-- As for the Chief, if I read his resume correctly he went to Quantico, a select number of law enforcement officers are chosen to go there; he also served in the Marine Corps, which is no cake walk. He has been with SPD since 1997 and is a great human being. My only interaction with him was when he was a detective and I was a victim. Book smart is good when you plan on an inside job, he didn't start out that way and probably never dreamed he would one day be in that type of supervisory position. He moved his way up in the ranks and gained respect from his fellow officers and the community. According to the resume he submitted, he should have the associate degree he was working on by now as well as any additional education he was seeking after that. Education is ongoing in law enforcement just like any other profession. Why get a bachelors or masters in administration if you aspire in the beginning to be a street cop? Most people probably do not enter law enforcement thinking one day they will be chief.

sandusky2012

did he also go to donut school? look at the clowns who he has under them. quantico many others have gone there also .but oh i forgot the taxpayers paid his salary while he was there right? as far as a marine many police officers go in the military. Ive seen his personnel file and why are there no longer any evaluations about him ever? did he destroy them. Oh I forgot misconduct by police is next to none with SPD

Sal Dali

Some people would complain if Jesus Christ himself were the police chief of Sandusky. If you thought you could have done a better job maybe you should have applied.
As for your comment "Ive seen his personnel file and why are there no longer any evaluations about him ever? did he destroy them. Oh I forgot misconduct by police is next to none with SPD"
Do you have some evidence you'd like to share to back that up? Wild crazy accusations are just wild crazy accusations without something concrete to back them up.
He didn't get any more or less than any other officer who has been selected for Quantico. Sounds like you have an axe to grand with him or the entire SPD; that axe must be awful heavy there friend.