Police: Blood found in missing Ohio couple's car

AP News
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Posted: Feb 23, 2011 7:40 PM
Police: Blood found in missing Ohio couple's car

A man charged in the stabbing death of his girlfriend's daughter and wanted for questioning in the disappearance of an elderly Ohio couple was captured Wednesday in southern West Virginia, and authorities said they have "serious concerns" about whether the couple are alive after blood was found in their car.

Samuel K. Littleton II was apprehended at 11:45 a.m. in the woods behind a Walmart store in Princeton, about 300 miles from the couple's home near Bellefontaine, Ohio. Littleton, who was spotted in a cave near the woods, was flushed out by a police helicopter and caught after a brief foot chase, West Virginia state police Capt. J.L. Cahill said.

The car belonging to Richard Russell, 84, and his wife, Gladis Russell, 85, was found abandoned Tuesday in Princeton. There was blood inside the car and in the trunk, and the car was being sent to a lab for further examination, Bellefontaine police Chief Brad Kunze said.

"We have serious concerns that they have survived this ordeal," he said. "We don't have any specific information one way or the other at this time."

State police have said Littleton called a relative Tuesday from a Princeton-area pay phone but was gone by the time police arrived there. Cahill said Littleton may have been in the woods for up to three days.

Littleton, 37, is charged with killing his girlfriend's 26-year-old daughter. Her body was found last week in his basement in Bellefontaine. He had bought a home from the Russells in 2009.

The Russells and Littleton had 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. Littleton's car was found abandoned a couple of miles from the Russells' home.

"Our focus remains bringing Dick and Gladis Russell home," Kunze said Wednesday evening.

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

Littleton was taken to a state police barracks for processing Wednesday afternoon. Cahill said he was scheduled to be taken to the Southern Regional Jail near Beckley and be arraigned by video hookup. State police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said the process to have Littleton extradited to Ohio would begin after arraignment.

Littleton's sister, Wanda Hart, who appeared on television with her father Tuesday to urge her brother to turn himself in, didn't immediately return a telephone message Wednesday.

A volunteer search for the couple is being organized in Logan County for this Saturday.

"We know, as days go by, it gets tougher," said the Russells' great-nephew, Matthew Hall, of Marysville, Ohio. "Miracles do happen, so we're maintaining hope."

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Associated Press writers Dan Sewell in Cincinnati and Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.