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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    IL - Ruth Martin, 51, Lincoln, 2 June 1976

    Doe Network

    Charley Project

    Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
    • Missing Since: June 2, 1976 from Lincoln, Illinois
    • Classification: Endangered Missing
    • Age: 51 years old
    • Height and Weight: 5'10, 155 pounds
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Dark brown hair, green eyes. Martin's blood type is A.

    Details of Disappearance
    Martin was last seen at her home in Lincoln, Illinois on June 2, 1976. Her husband was the last person to see her, before he left for work between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. Martin was supposed to go to work at 9:00, but she never arrived and has never been heard from again. A witness saw her car driving northbound on U.S. 66 at 9:15 a.m., but its driver could not be identified. Two days after her disappearance, her vehicle was found abandoned in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn in Bloomington, Illinois. Martin did not check into the inn, however. Her car had a flat tire and there was a considerable amount of Type A blood, which is Martin's type, in the trunk when it was found. Authorities found Type A bloodstains and a .22 caliber bullet on the floor of her home garage after she disappeared. There were no indications of forced entry to the home.

    Martin was scheduled to testify against Russell Smrekar, who was accused of shoplifting two steaks (worth $4) from a Kroger grocery store. He was subsequently convicted of murdering Robin and Jay Fry and was sentenced to 200 to 600 years in prison. He is eligible for parole every three years, but has been denied every time. Jay was the store clerk who saw Smrekar try to steal the steaks and was going to testify against him at the trial. Robin was Jay's wife, and was pregnant at the time of her death. Smrekar was also believed to be responsible for Martin's disappearance and for the disappearance of Michael Mansfield, a witness against him in an unrelated burglary case, but he was never charged in connection with their cases.

    A photograph of Smrekar is posted below this case summary. In October 2011, shortly before he died in prison at the age of 56, he confessed to Mansfield and Martin's murders. He said he buried Martin's body under Interstate 55, which was under construction at the time, late at night on the same day of her disappearance. He was unable to give a precise location, however. Investigators announced that, in light of Smrekar's confession, they were closing Martin and Mansfield's cases.

    Martin was employed as a real estate agent at the time of her disappearance, and she has two children. Her husband died two years after her disappearance. Her body has never been found.

    June 2, 2016 Marks 40 Years Since the Disappearance of Ruth Martin

    I, Bonnie Thompson, author of “Buried Truth Trilogy,” corresponded with Russell Smrekar in 2007 while he was still incarcerated at Menard. Smrekar wrote the following: “Everybody likes a good ‘Whodonnit’ [sic], and reality is that they are and will remain unto eternity – ‘unsolved.’ . . . There is no constitutional right to be free from police suspicion. My strategy in hindsight is, inaction difuses [sic] any reaction (&) . . . why tamper with success.”

    The Lincoln Police Department claimed Smrekar allegedly admitted to burying Ruth Martin’s body under I-55 which was under construction at the time of her disappearance. Smrekar was a pathological liar who enjoyed leading people, including the police, on wild goose chases. What Smrekar vowed, in his 2007 letter, revealed he was never, “unto eternity,” going to admit to murdering Mansfield and Martin. If Smrekar did admit to these murders, I-55 can never be excavated to look for Martin’s remains, and Smrekar apparently did not reveal what he did with Mansfield. There’s no doubt Smrekar was involved in these murders, but monumental information and evidence supports that others, more than likely, assisted him. These possible accomplices remain at large today.

    Ruth Martin was dearly loved by her family and friends of Logan County and elsewhere. She deserves the same recognition and justice as any past or present citizen of Logan County. Russell Smrekar’s death and the passage of 40 years should not excuse conducting official reinvestigation into Martin’s murder.

    Dying Smrekar confesses to Ruth Martin's murder - October 2011

    A monster from Logan County’s past has died in prison.

    And before his death this week, convicted cold-blooded killer Russell Smrekar confessed to Lincoln Police Department officials that he had killed Lincoln real estate broker Ruth Martin in the mid-1970s and had buried her body under the Interstate 55 construction that was taking place at the time.

    Weeks before he died, Smrekar was brought back to Logan County, where local authorities hoped he could pinpoint the location of Martin’s makeshift grave. The effort was fruitless.
    Adams said Smrekar admitted to burying Martin under the Interstate 55 construction taking place at that time.

    “This was done late at night on the day of her disappearance,” Adams said. “Smrekar then dropped the vehicle of Ruth Martin at the Holiday Inn in Bloomington. Smrekar then proceeded back to Joliet, where he resided at the time.”

    “Due to the time that has elapsed since the murder and the fact that the burial took place at night, Smrekar was unable to give detectives a precise location of the body of Ruth Martin,” the detective said.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    McWopetaz Metroplex, Illinois U. S. of A.
    I remember this case. At the same time there was another mass murderer in Lincoln named Michael Drabing. I guess the Lincoln jail only had one cell because Drabing and Smrekar were locked up in the same cell together along with a guy who was in there for not paying child support. I bet he didn't sleep much.
    Last edited by STANDREID; 06-03-2016 at 05:19 PM.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

    Stan Reid

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