published Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Body found in Chattanooga identified as Ohio man, police say

Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Mar 1, 2011 - Chattanooga Police Department Assistant Chief Tim Carroll shares the details of a male body found in Chattanooga last week. The body is that of an elderly Ohio man who disappeared along with his wife more than two weeks ago.
Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Mar 1, 2011 - Chattanooga Police Department Assistant Chief Tim Carroll shares the details of a male body found in Chattanooga last week. The body is that of an elderly Ohio man who disappeared along with his wife more than two weeks ago.
  • photo
    This undated picture released by the FBI shows 84-year-old Richard Russell and his 85-year-old wife, Gladis. Sam Littleton was charged in absentia with murder Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 after the body of his girlfriend's 26-year-old daughter was found in the basement of a home he shared with her mother. Police also want to question him about the disappearance of the Russells, who haven't been heard from since Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. (AP Photo/FBI)

Chattanooga police say a body found over the weekend is that of an elderly Ohio man who disappeared along with his wife more than two weeks ago.

The body found in the 3800 block of Lightfoot Mill Road in Chattanooga on Saturday has been positively identified through dental records as Richard Russell, 84, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, police said.

Russell and his wife Gladis, 85, were reported missing on Feb. 17. Officers with the Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, along with help from the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s air unit, are now searching for the remains of Gladis Russell off Interstate 75.

The GBI and North Georgia law enforcement agencies also have have been alerted.

Samuel K. Littleton II was arrested last week in West Virginia, where officials found the car belonging to Russell and his wife. Littleton is charged in a separate killing.

Chattanooga police said this morning that a stab wound was found on Russell's body during an autopsy and the case has officially been ruled as a homicide.

On Monday, before the autopsy was performed, Chattanooga investigators said they believed the man died of natural causes. Initial X-rays and a physical examination did not show any signs of foul play, according to police.

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