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Man Held In Montana For Unrelated Crime Admits To 1993 Cold Case Murder, West Virginia Police Say

cold case suspect
Source: Yellowstone County Detention Facility; UNSPLASH

Oct. 20 2022, Published 3:25 p.m. ET

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Authorities in West Virginia said they have identified and arrested a man in Montana in connection with the nearly 30-year-old cold case murder of a woman.

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The Huntington Police Department said a grand jury in Cabell County, West Virginia, indicted Ricky Louie Woody, 59, in September, and he was charged with the 1993 murder of Melissa Martinez, who was initially identified by investigators as Lisa Estepp, WSAZ reported.

Woody, who was being held in a Yellowstone County detention facility on unrelated charges, is expected to be extradited to West Virginia once that case is resolved.

On March 16, 1993, officers responding to a shooting call found Martinez suffering a gunshot wound to the torso as well as lacerations to her head.

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Police said interviews at the time led detectives to identify Woody as a prime suspect in the case but there was insufficient evidence to charge him with the homicide.


Within a year of Martinez’s slaying, Woody moved relocated to Billings, Montana, and the case went cold.

In December 2020, officials said Woody was taken into custody in connection with an unrelated case in Billings and while in custody allegedly told investigators about a homicide in Huntington, West Virginia, decades earlier.

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Authorities claimed Woody eventually allegedly admitted he was involved in the slaying of a woman he knew as Lisa, and the Billings Police Department contacted law enforcement in Huntington.

Detectives flew from West Virginia to Montana and interviewed Woody.

Woody was being held on multiple felony charges, including and assault with a weapon, and being a fugitive from justice. His bond was set at $50,000.


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