Ex-wife identified man charged in Ind. casino death - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Ex-wife identified man charged in Ind. casino death

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Suspect Ralph Perez Martinez Suspect Ralph Perez Martinez
Mary Austgen Mary Austgen
GRIFFITH, Ind. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A south suburban man who has been in police custody since Tuesday has been charged in the late-March kidnapping and murder of a 76-year-old northwest Indiana woman.

At a press conference Thursday, Griffith police announced the charges against Ralph Perez Martinez, 57, of the 12200 block of Lawndale Street in Alsip. Prosecutors have charges him with murder, robbery and criminal confinement.

On Tuesday, Griffith and Alsip police served a search warrant on Martinez's residence and he was taken into custody.

On Monday, Austgen's family and police pleaded with the public to come forward with information leading to the capture of her killer. They announced a $10,000 reward offered by the ATF and private parties.

Austgen, a St. John resident and longtime Griffith business owner, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the abdomen in her 2011 Yukon Denali, which was parked at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, around 2:10 a.m. March 29.

Griffith and Gary police said she was attacked and kidnapped at gunpoint from her business at 801 E. Main St. in Griffith the previous evening.

Earlier this week, Griffith Dective Lt. Matt Argadine said police had received 40 to 50 tips since releasing security camera footage from Austgen's business in early April. Due to the volume of tips, police have received assistance from other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, ATF, and the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force, Argadine said.

Argadine said Monday that police are also looking for the person driving a four-door black vehicle who picked up the suspect in the valet parking area around 6:45 p.m. They are not sure if it was a man or woman.

"We don't know a lot of details, but we know somebody is out there," Argadine said. "We need to know who these people are."

An affidavit filed in Lake Superior Court in Crown Point says Martinez's ex-wife identified him to Alsip police after she saw a photograph of the abductor.


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