Unknown Martha Watkins Killer- North Carolina- 2009 Nov 9, 2017 2:11:15 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Nov 9, 2017 2:11:15 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: Raleigh NC government website- police department section)
From wncn.com (CBS North Carolina):
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The oldest of three siblings, Martha Watkins grew up in Pennsylvania.
“My sister and I became very close,” said Heidi Wettlaufer. “She was very creative. Very bright.”
Watkins became a nurse, married, and actively volunteered at soup kitchens and animal shelters. Then, shortly after her divorce when she was in her 20s, she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
“It was very, very hard,” Wettlaufer said. “She worked really hard to overcome the illness that she had. In her late 30s, early 40s her illness seemed to take a turn that’s hard to describe. It became intractable.”
“Her delusions and conspiracy ideas became greater and greater as she got older. It wasn’t her, it was her illlness,” Wettlaufer said.
Wettlaufer said Watkins came to North Carolina for a job.
Wettlaufer lost communication with Watkins.
Years went by and Watkins became homeless.
July 28, 2009, 54-year-old Watkins’ body was discovered face down outside of Sacred Heart Church in downtown Raleigh. Police said she had been murdered.
“A detective called my brother, then my brother called me,” Wettlaufer said as she held back tears.
“It was violent,” she said.
“She had been hit in the head. She was bleeding. There was blood on the ground,” Raleigh Police Department Homicide Unit Detective Kelly Ann Kinney said.
An autopsy report requested by CBS North Carolina showed the cause of death was blunt force head trauma. She also suffered a broken nose, extensive bruising, and rib fractures.
A bus ticket was found in Watkins’ pocket.
CBS North Carolina recovered video showing Watkins getting on a city bus at Crabtree Valley Mall at 10:28 p.m.
“She was riding by herself, no one spoke to her. She sat there minding her own business,” Kinney said.
Martha rode that bus until 11:02 p.m.
That’s when she got off that bus on the southwest corner of West Morgan and McDowell streets.
That put her one block south of Sacred Heart Church.
As the bus pulled away, she crossed over Morgan Street, heading north towards the church where she was found.
What happens those hours between 11:02 p.m. and 7 a.m. remains a mystery.
CBS North Carolina’s Sharon Tazewell and Kinney visited the crime scene more than 8 years after Watkins’ murder.
“A worker came here in the morning and saw the body?” asked Tazewell.
“Yes, thought she was just asleep,” Kinney said.
The church was not equipped with cameras to aid police in their investigation.
Tazewell went through files spanning eight years. Previous detectives drew detailed maps of the crime scene, talked to acquaintances and people who rode the bus that night with Watkins.
No one knew anything.
Missing from the crime scene, Watkins’ shoes and bright orange purse that you see her holding while on the bus. A reward poster and flyer circulated.
Neither her shoes or purse were recovered.
In 2015, all samples collected, including fingernail scrapings were retested hoping new technology would lend leads.
“It was all Martha’s DNA,” Kinney said.
Tazewell did more digging and found a blogger who knew Martha while homeless in Raleigh.
“People would line up right here and we’d have tables with like sausage and biscuits,” Pastor Hugh Hollowell from Love Wins Ministries said.
Hollowell served free breakfast weekend mornings in Moore Square. Ironic since Watkins once fed the homeless in Pennsylvania.
“Some days she’d be cheerful and talkative and some days she’d be withdrawn,” Hollowell said. “She had been gone most of the spring of 2009 and showed up only a couple of weeks before she died.”
Hollowell writes in his blog from July 26, 2009, “We had a long conversation.”
This was two days before her murder.
“In your conversations with her she never mentioned someone who’d want to harm her or someone she was afraid of?” Tazewell asked.
“No. No. No not at all,” Hollowell said.
“No one was able to be like, you know who would do this? This person,” Kinney said.
“We’re just kind of stuck without any specific person to look at,” she said.
An ongoing case that a family hopes will one day go from cold to closed.
“She had a good soul,” Wettlaufer said.
“To have something like this happen to her at the end of her life, it’s unimaginable,” she said.
If you have any information on this murder, call Crimestoppers.
Admin Note #1: According to the City of Raleigh website, anyone with information on this case can leave an anonymous tip with the Raleigh Crimestoppers at 919-834-HELP (4357).
Admin Note #2: If you have any (news-related) updates on this case, please contact us here: amwfans.com/thread/1662/website-contact-form