Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Contract Murder of Kathryn Ann Martini-Lissy

At The Hotel

A short time later, Detectives Lloyd Davis and David Poppe met inside Room 305. After receiving a briefing from Officer Ellis, Davis officially took over the investigation. Just as the maid had reported, the detectives observed that the television was on, as were several lights in the room. The detectives were pleased that the maid had left everything in the room exactly as she had found it. One look was all it took for the seasoned detectives to determine that Kathy had been the victim of a vicious homicide. The detectives took notes as they observed the partially-clad form, and speculated that she might have been raped. They could see quite clearly that she had been physically assaulted and possibly strangled.

As Davis was making his preparatory observations, Sergeant Cline arrived. Davis was pleased to see that Cline was accompanied by Donald Ray Schuessler, a laboratory technician who had worked for the Eugene Police Department for about six years at that time. Schuessler's duties included processing crime scenes and completing comparison analysis of certain types of physical evidence, including fingerprints. Schuessler and Cline were followed into the room by Ken Champion, a field investigator for the Lane County medical examiner's office who had arrived separately.

Noting that strangulation victims are not a pretty sight, the detectives observed many of the typical signs of death by asphyxia, such as clenched hands, discoloration of the lips and face, and markings on her neck. As they gathered around the bed they observed that the victim's body lay across the width of the bed, not in a lengthwise position in which a person would normally lie when sleeping. A slightly damp hand towel from the rack in the bathroom lay at the foot of the bed. After viewing and photographing the body exactly as it had been found, the investigators, after Champion gave his okay, turned the corpse over onto its back.

The victim, they noted, was a brunette woman with a slim figure who appeared to be in her mid-to-late twenties. Her body was cool to the touch, likely at or near room temperature. She was wearing a diamond wedding ring set on her left ring finger, and a silver ring on her right ring finger. She was also wearing a watch with a gold band on her right wrist. There was no other jewelry on her body. The detectives tentatively identified her as Kathryn Ann Martini-Lissy from the hotel's guest registration records.

There was a small amount of blood, coagulated and sticky, that had trickled out of her nose and mouth and had run down the sides of her face, the cause of which could not be immediately determined. On the bed near her body lay a loose tuft of hair which, they observed, apparently had been torn from the victim's scalp, possibly during a struggle with an assailant.

"She was only going to stay for one day, as far as we know," the hotel manager told the cops. The manager also informed the detectives that Mrs. Martini-Lissy had stated in the guest register that business was the nature of her visit to Eugene and that she represented Portland's FNB Financial Company, a subsidiary of the First National Bank of Boston.

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