Published November 17, 2014
PRINCETON, W.Va. -- A man charged in the stabbing death of his girlfriend's daughter and wanted for questioning in the disappearance of an elderly Ohio couple was captured Wednesday in southern West Virginia, state police said, a day after the couple's car was found nearby.
Samuel Littleton was apprehended at 11:45 a.m. in the woods behind a Walmart in Princeton, about 90 miles southeast of Charleston. He was flushed out by a police helicopter and caught after a brief foot chase, Capt. J.L. Cahill said.
The car belonging to Richard Russell, 84, and his 85-year-old wife, Gladis, was found abandoned Tuesday in Princeton. State police have said Littleton called a relative Tuesday from a Princeton-area pay phone but was gone by the time police arrived there.
Investigators told relatives there were possible signs of foul play involving the couple's car, said Matthew Hall of Marysville, Ohio, a great-nephew of the Russells.
"They did not say it was anything specific," Hall said. "They did not go into any findings. That definitely raises the level of anxiety for us. It was disheartening."
Cahill didn't mention the elderly couple's whereabouts at a brief news conference.
Littleton is charged with killing his girlfriend's 26-year-old daughter. Her body was found last week in his basement in Bellefontaine, the Ohio community where the Russells live. Littleton had bought a home from the Russells in 2009.
The Russells and Littleton, 37, had been missing since Feb. 16, when the Russells' car was seen parked at an Interstate 75 rest area about 100 miles southwest of their home.
Littleton was sought on a warrant charging murder, felonious assault, abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence in Tiffany Brown's stabbing death.
Littleton's car was found abandoned a couple of miles from the Russells' home.
His sister, Wanda Hart, who appeared on television with her father Tuesday to urge her brother to turn himself in, didn't immediately return a telephone message Wednesday.
Logan County, Ohio, Sheriff Andrew Smith said county, Bellefontaine police and Ohio state investigators were at the scene working with West Virginia and federal authorities and he declined Wednesday to comment on results so far.
"We're waiting to hear back from them on an evaluation of the car and exactly what it is they found," he said, adding laboratory testing will also be done.
A volunteer search for the couple is being organized in Logan County for this Saturday.
"We know as days go by, it gets tougher," Hall said. "Miracles do happen, so we're maintaining hope."