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, and authorities said they have "serious concerns" about whether the pair are alive after blood was found in their car.
Samuel K. Littleton II was apprehended at 11:45 a.m. in the woods behind a Walmart in Princeton, about 300 miles from the couple's home near Bellefontaine, Ohio. Littleton, who was spotted in a cave near the woods, was flushed out by a police helicopter and caught after a brief foot chase, West Virginia state police 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. There was blood inside the car and in the trunk, and the vehicle was being sent to a lab for further examination, Bellefontaine police Chief Brad Kunze said.
"We have serious concerns that they have survived this ordeal," he said. "We don't have any specific information one way or the other at this time."
State police have said Littleton called a relative Tuesday from a Princeton-area pay phone but was gone by the time police arrived there. Cahill said Littleton may have been in the woods for up to three days.
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's car was found abandoned a couple of miles from the Russells' home.
"Our focus remains bringing Dick and Gladis Russell home," Kunze said Wednesday evening.
Littleton was sought on a warrant charging murder, felonious assault, abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence in Tiffany Brown's stabbing death.
Littleton was being brought to a state police barracks for processing Wednesday afternoon. Sgt. Michael Baylous, a state police spokesman, said Littleton eventually would be arraigned, and then the process would begin to have him extradited to Ohio.
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.
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."