Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Contract Murder of Kathryn Ann Martini-Lissy


In the days and weeks after Kathy's death, investigators interviewed all of her known business associates in Portland and Eugene, talked with relatives and all of her known friends and acquaintances, virtually anyone and everyone who had known her, however remotely. They traced her movements in Eugene as far as they could, and questioned at least 150 employees at the hotel where she had stayed, all to no avail. Although good leads were being developed, they weren't any closer to making an arrest than they had been on day one.

A reward fund was established by the Network of Business and Professional Women of Portland, and within days the fund grew to over $10,000. The money, according to Kathy's associates, was coming from people who cared about Kathysome of them from the other side of the country. In spite of the reward offer, there were no takers.

Although teams of detectives in Eugene and Lake Oswego worked diligently on the case, they remained tight-lipped, unwilling at first to reveal how much progress, if any, was being made on the case. However, Detectives Davis and Poppe made a public move in the case almost three weeks to the day after the slaying, when they filed an affidavit for a search warrant in Lane County Circuit Court. The search warrant was granted, and Davis and Poppe, with the cooperation of Lake Oswego Police Department Detective J.T. Parr and others, served it at the condominium located in the 100 block of Oswego Summit Drive in Lake Oswego which Kathy and her husband had shared. Search warrants were also served at the Valley Scuba Center, a business owned by Michael Lissy, located on the 10800 block of Southwest Barbur Boulevard in Portland, and at a third location, an apartment across the street from Lissy's Scuba Center.

"We did seize some items," said Eugene Police Department Lieutenant Jan Clements. "It's not something that happened all of a's been a gradually growing thing." He added that the police now had a suspect as well as a motive on which they were focusing.

Among the items seized in the searches were a handgun, Kathy's life insurance papers, a will that named her husband as the beneficiary, a financial statement, articles of clothing and a belt buckle. The significance of the seized items was not disclosed at that time.

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