Missing Ohio couple's abandoned car found in WV

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2011 9:28 PM
Missing Ohio couple's abandoned car found in WV

A car belonging to an elderly Ohio couple missing for nearly a week was found abandoned Tuesday night in a Walmart parking lot in West Virginia.

Bellefontaine, Ohio, police Chief Brad Kunze said the car was found shortly after 6 p.m. in Princeton, W.Va. He said no one was in the vehicle and that it was towed for further investigation.

Samuel Littleton is wanted for questioning in the disappearance of 84-year-old Richard Russell and his 85-year-old wife, Gladis. He's also charged with murdering his girlfriend's 26-year-old daughter, whose body was found two weeks ago in his basement.

The couple and Littleton, 37, have been missing since Feb. 16, when the Russells' car was seen parked at an Interstate 75 rest area about 100 miles southwest of their home. Crews had been searching for clues in a Cincinnati-area landfill, where trash from the rest stop is dumped.

They found nothing of interest but secured the site in case they need to go back, Logan County Sheriff Andrew Smith said.

Littleton had bought a home from the Russells in 2009.

West Virginia State Police said Littleton called a relative Tuesday from a Princeton-area pay phone, the Dayton Daily News reported. Littleton didn't say whether the elderly couple was with him, and by the time police arrived at the site, Littleton was gone, Sgt. Doug Miller told the newspaper.

Littleton is being sought on a warrant charging murder, felonious assault, abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence in Tiffany Brown's stabbing death.

Littleton's car was found abandoned a couple of miles from the Russells' home. Both they and Littleton are from Bellefontaine, which is about 50 miles northwest of Columbus.