published Friday, March 4th, 2011

Chattanooga: Autopsy shows Ohio man found dead here was beaten, stabbed

  • 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)

An 84-year-old Ohio man died after he was beaten and stabbed once in chest, according to an autopsy report released today.

Richard Russell, whose body was discovered Saturday by two men searching for scrap metal on Lightfoot Mill Road, was found partially clothed.

Authorities have said they believe Russell and his wife, Gladis, were slain in their rural Bellefontaine, Ohio home on or around Feb. 16 by Samuel K. Littleton II. Littleton was arrested in West Virginia and told investigators he killed the couple, took their car and loaded their bodies in the trunk.

Gladis Russell’s remains have not been found. Authorities believe her body could be in this area.

Authorities stated Richard Russell was slain in his home. The Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s report lists the date of death as Feb. 26, the date the body was found, and details some decomposition of the body.

Russell’s legs and arms have abrasions from where his body most likely was dragged, according to the report.

Three abrasions mark the top of Russell’s head as well as a large bruise, the autopsy found. The report also shows three separate skull fractures near right side of his head.

When the body was discovered, police stated foul play was not suspected. The autopsy revealed otherwise, and information disseminated by Ohio authorities matched the description of Russell. Dental x-rays confirmed his identity, according to the autopsy report.

After finding Russell, authorities spent two days searching for Gladis Russell’s remains near Lightfoot Mill Road and areas near Interstate 75.

Police are asking that if anyone in the area sees vultures or any other signs that could indicate a body they call 423-698-2525.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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