Manhunt Expands For Missing Logan County Couple, Slaying Suspect


UPDATED: Sunday February 20, 2011 7:45 PM

A relative of an elderly Logan County couple missing since Wednesday said their family believes they are with a man accused of stabbing a woman found dead in her mother's basement.

The investigation into the disappearance of Richard Russell, 84, and his wife, Gladis, 85, continued Saturday, 10TV's Jason Frazer reported.
     
Samuel Littleton is wanted for questioning in the disappearance. On Friday Bellefontaine police filed charges against Littleton, 37, including murder, felonious assault and abuse of a corpse, in the stabbing of death of Tiffany Brown.

Brown, 26, was found dead on Wednesday under a pile of scrap wood in the basement of the home Littleton shared with Brown's mother, Deb Neeley. Police have said Neeley is not a suspect.

Investigators said Brown, a mother of two, was found partially clothed and was stabbed multiple times, 10TV News reported.

SLIDESHOW: Images From Case | VIDEO EXTRAS:  Feb. 18 News Conference |  Case Timeline | Russell Family Speaks

Brown disappeared on Feb. 11 after dropping her children off at a neighbor's house and leaving to run errands.

According to Bellefontaine police Chief Brad Kunze, Brown was probably murdered last weekend.

The Russells sold to the home where Brown's body was found to Littleton several years ago.

On Saturday afternoon members of the Russell family were pleading for Littleton to turn himself in.

The family said the couple would not take a long trip without telling someone and said they are concerned for the couple's health.

Richard Russell uses a walker or wheelchair and has had medical problems in the past that require daily medication.

"He has to have his medication on a regular basis," said nephew Mike Coder. "We're not sure if he has his medication or if he is medicated. These are just innocent bystanders. They had no involvement in the situation and it's just our plea that they would be turned loose."

Shaun Cox, a neighbor of the home where Brown's body was discovered, said he last spoke with Littleton on Tuesday, 10TV's Danielle Elias reported.

He said it was common for Brown to stop by the home with her two young sons several times a week and said he never noticed anything out of the ordinary.

"We were home the whole time.  And it's just like, we didn't hear nothing, we didn't see anything strange happen," Cox said.  "How did we not see anything? How did anybody not know that was going on next door?"

Sheriff's deputies said there were no signs of foul play inside the Russells' home but they did find a note with Littleton's phone number on it, 10TV News reported.

"There was a note inside that, I believe, had a phone number on it that came back to Mr. Littleton," said Logan County sheriff's deputy Randy Dodds. "We found that inside, which is what raised our suspicion."

At daybreak on Friday, authorities began scouring the couple's 80-acre property in rural Logan County. Officers were seen searching in barns, fields and outbuildings for clues related to their disappearance.

On Friday night hundreds of community members gathered at Brown's home for a vigil. Mourners had been leaving cards and flowers at the home since she was reported missing.

Investigators said Littleton has family in Tennessee or West Virginia and may be hiding there.

The Russells' car, a green or gray 2004 Mercury Marquis, was last spotted at a rest stop along southbound Interstate 75, just north of Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

Deputies said that Russells' car has Ohio license plate No. PDG-13E.

The Russell family said they are hopeful Littleton will turn himself in.

"Let's bring this to an end. It doesn't need to go any further than this," said the couple's great nephew Matthew Hall. "If you're out there and you know where Mr. Littleton is and you've had contact with him, if you've got a text or a phone call, don't be an accessory to this."

Investigators are asking anyone living near the Russell residence to check any out buildings or other structures on their property and report anything suspicious to the sheriff's office at 937-592-5731.

Anyone with information on Littleton's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or 937-599-8477.
     
Watch 10TV News HD and refresh 10TV.com for continuing coverage.

Previous Stories:

February 18, 2011: Murder Charges Filed In Slaying Of Bellefontaine Woman
February 18, 2011: Slain Woman Was Found Stabbed, Partially Clothed
February 17, 2011: Couple, Vehicle Reported Missing In Homicide Investigation
February 16, 2011:  Missing Woman Found Dead; Person Of Interest Sought
February 15, 2011: Search Continues For Missing Mother Of 2
February 14, 2011: Missing Woman's Car Found At Apartment Complex