Detectives: Man killed woman, collected pension checks - FOX 13 News

Detectives: Man killed woman, collected pension checks

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It took facial reconstruction, federal fingerprint analysis and nine months of investigating in multiple states for Sumter County investigators to track down who they say is responsible for an April 2013 murder.

Deputies arrested Ralph Harold Penrod, 62, of Tavares, Monday charging him with the murder of Martha "Jane" Wever.

Wever's body was found badly decomposed in a wooded area behind a truck stop on April 22, 2013 off I-75 on State Road 44 in Wildwood. She had been shot to death.

The only identifiable mark was a tattoo of the name "Jane."

Jane Wever was "Jane Doe" until University of South Florida Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle built a digital image of what Wever could look like based on the shape of her skull and other bodily features.

The waiting game started then, and Dr. Kimmerle along with Sumter investigators hoped someone could identify their "Jane Doe".

Around that time Kentucky State Police opened a missing persons case on Wever.

In November, family members learned of Dr. Kimmerle's digital recreation and alerted Kentucky investigators who then contacted Sumter County detectives.

Through fingerprint analysis, the FBI confirmed the victim was Wever.

Sumter investigators developed Penrod as a suspect when detectives learned he was stealing Wever's monthly pension checks.

Investigators would not elaborate specifically how they connected Penrod to murder only that she and Wever lived together in Kentucky and had been childhood friends in Michigan.

"The motive for this homicide appears to be strictly for financial gain," Capt. Kevin Hofecker said.

Family members of Wever learned of Penrod's arrest Monday and immediately flew to Florida.

"Even with a pacemaker, my heart skipped a beat," Dale Sturtz, one of Wever's 13 siblings explained.

"[Detectives] went above and beyond and fortunately they have the resources to follow this through, and the people of Sumter support this."

The sheriff's office raided Penrod's home Monday and took him into custody. He remains in jail with no bond.

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