MARKHAM, Ill. — Police in Illinois have offered chilling details about a man accused of toting parts of his slain girlfriend’s body to his mother’s home while visiting from Kentucky.
Melvin Martin Jr., 30, of Louisville, has been charged with leaving the scene of a crime, though more serious charges are expected. The 31-year-old victim’s identity had not been released as of Thursday morning, though police officials said they believe she died about a month ago during a domestic dispute at the couple’s home.
The unnamed woman’s head, lower torso and organs were found in duffel bags Martin carried to Illinois. Her upper torso was found in a park in Louisville – where Martin told police it would be, according to CBS Chicago.
Martin’s reason for bringing parts of his girlfriend’s body with him was stunning.
“He indicated that, as grotesque as it might sound, that he still wanted to be with her, at least part of her,” Markham police Chief Terry White said during a news conference on Wednesday.
Watch the news conference below, courtesy of WGN in Chicago.
The chief said Martin appeared remorseful as he told investigators his story. The killing apparently took place at a home in the 600 block of North Hite Avenue in Louisville, where police found signs of violence, according to the Courier Journal.
White discussed the difficulties posed in identifying the remains since they were found in two states and two jurisdictions.
“This case is complex and very difficult from the onset of it,” White said. "The remains we have here, we have the advantage of dental records. And then, of course, there’s DNA.
“Her upper torso remains in Kentucky, (and) the level of their forensics, I’m sure, mirrors ours. So, I’m quite sure there’s going to be a positive identification on this victim.”
Martin remained in the Markham city jail Wednesday night as Kentucky detectives worked to get him extradited, CBS Chicago reported.
White said that Martin, who arrived in Illinois on Sunday, transported the woman’s remains by Greyhound bus. His mother picked him up at the station in downtown Chicago.
Martin’s mother and other family members became suspicious when he had not unpacked his bags after several days. He also asked them to buy clothes for him, despite multiple pieces of luggage, and was preoccupied with the bags.
Martin’s mother finally looked in one of the bags after dropping him off at the Markham Public Library on Wednesday. That’s where he was taken into custody.
CBS Chicago obtained audio of the woman’s 911 call, in which she describes opening one of her son’s suitcases.
“Ma’am, what type of package is it? Was it in your mailbox?” the dispatcher asks.
“No, I picked my son up. He’s from Kentucky,” the woman says. “I picked him up 'cause he was coming home; he was having a hard time. He took this suitcase in my garage. I just took him to the library and I said, ‘Let me see what’s in this suitcase.’”
When she did, she made a gruesome discovery.
“It looks like it’s a body in there,” the woman told the dispatcher.
Listen to part of the 911 call in the CBS Chicago report below.
Martin was apparently having financial issues related to the Internal Revenue Service. Several letters from the IRS were discovered in his luggage, and he was on the IRS website when he was arrested at the library, White said.
“Was there no smell associated with the remains?” a reporter asked the chief.
“There are some early reports that the family members were complaining of a smell,” White responded.
The chief credited Martin’s family with calling police to turn him in. They have been fully cooperative with investigators, he said.
Cox Media Group