Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Contract Murder of Kathryn Ann Martini-Lissy

First Officer on the Scene

Shortly after being notified by the manager of the Valley River Inn, the Eugene Police Department dispatched Officer James Randolph Ellis to the hotel to check out the report of the dead body. He was advised that paramedics were already in the hotel room. So that he wouldn't arouse the curiosity of the guests who were checking in and out or unduly alarm anyone, Ellis avoided the front desk and proceeded directly to the manager's office, from which he was directed to Room 305.

Eugene Police Department patch
Eugene Police Department patch

Two of the paramedics from the Eugene Fire Department were using the telephone in Kathryn's room when Ellis walked in. They were reporting to their superiors that no lifesaving efforts were needed at their location. Ellis, following proper police procedure, secured the room and notified his dispatcher that he needed additional police department personnel at the scene, preferably a homicide unit, to investigate what he described as a suspicious death.

While waiting for additional help to arrive, Ellis checked the rooms on either side of Room 305 and found that both were empty. As part of his preliminary survey of what clearly appeared to be a crime scene, Ellis determined that the two rooms across the hallway were occupied, but he did not know yet whether those guests had seen or heard anything suspicious. He noted the names of the two paramedics, as well as those of three additional fire department personnel who had entered the room prior to his arrival, for the benefit of the investigators who would soon take over the case. As a footnote to his handwritten preliminary reported he added that nothing, as far as he had been able to ascertain, had been touched or moved with the exception of the body that the paramedics had checked for vital signs.

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