LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A cross-state homicide investigation is underway after a Louisville man admitted to dismembering his girlfriend and putting parts of her in a suitcase. He then traveled with the body parts on a bus to Chicago.
Investigators in Markam, Il. revealed Wednesday that Melvin Martin, 30, admitted to killing 31-year-old Ladawndra Ellington in Louisville. He said he dismembered her body, dumped her torso in a Clifton Heights park, and packed some of her other body parts in a suitcase and tote bag. Police say Martin got on a Greyhound bus to Chicago to visit his parents in the suburb of Markham.
The suspect’s family reportedly picked Martin up from the bus stop. His family told police he never unpacked or opened the suitcase, but reported that a foul odor was leaking from the case. Police were called when a family member opened the suitcase and found the body parts.
Martin told Markam Police Department investigators the entire story after he was caught. He told police he still wanted to be with Ellington even after her death.
According to Markham Police Chief Terry White, the victim was likely killed in Louisville at least 30 days ago. White said Martin likely waited nearly a month before transporting parts of her body to Illinois in multiple bags.
The homicide investigation crossed state lines back to Kentucky, where Louisville Metro Police Department officers were able to track the torso of Martin’s girlfriend to the 600 block of N. Hite Avenue.
The rest of Ellington’s body, including her lower half, skull, and organs were in Martin’s suitcase in Illinois.
The killing is believed to have stemmed from a domestic dispute that turned violent, White said. Court records show Ellington took out an emergency protective order against Martin in May, but a longer-term domestic violence order was dismissed a week later.
Two other women have also brought claims of abuse against Martin to court. In 2015, he was found guilty of beating his 3-months pregnant girlfriend.
In Louisville, residents at The Avenue apartments say they knew something was terribly wrong when LMPD officers were in and out one of the buildings on Tuesday.
“Kind of creepy, kind of creepy,” Danee Fallen who lives off Hite Avenue said. “It leaves an eerie feeling.”
Residents noticed Ellington had been missing for a while.
“I had a feeling something wasn’t right, someone was missing and they hadn’t been seen for a while and the family was concerned,” Fallen said.
Fallen said she noticed Martin, who stays with the victim, going back and forth to a dumpster recently.
“I’ve seen him take out big large leaves like garbage bags to the dumpster,” Fallen said. “I’ve seen him take a big suitcase to the dumpster. Last week there was flies and maggots around it, which is unusual. Flies are common but maggots, we don’t normally have that.”
Fallen said a neighbor asked the man where Ellington was since she hasn’t been seen lately and the man’s response didn’t make much sense. She was deeply troubled after learning what happened so close to where she lives.
Martin is in custody in Illinois and will be extradited back to Louisville.
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