PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — The Parkersburg Police Chief says the discovery of a body in a 35 year old murder case involved some amazing circumstances. Leslie Diane Marty was last seen when her boyfriend Mark Hanna took her from her Parkersburg apartment at gunpoint in July 1983.
Hanna was eventually convicted of kidnapping in 1985 along with burglary. But with no body, it would be 1991 before she was declared dead and in 1996 Hanna was convicted of her murder and is now serving life in prison. The location of Mary’s body remained unknown.
“This kind of case today would never happen,” said Chief Joe Martin. “We’d never see this go to a grand jury or even a trial, let along get a conviction without a body and only circumstantial evidence. The investigation was done properly and they did a very good job.”
In recent months, Hanna sought out WCHS TV’s Kennie Bass to talk about the case. During the course of the interview Hanna divulged the location where he has put Marty’s body.
“I don’t have any idea why he decided to reveal the location now,” said Martin.
Authorities went to the site, which in 1983 was nothing more than an open piece of property for a park or picnic area along the Ohio River in Belpre, Ohio.
“Just what you’d think a park would be, but back then the only thing there was a baseball field,” Martin explained. “It’s was just a big wide open space between two cornfields back in 1983. Why he chose that spot I don’t know.”
Hanna was meticulous. He buried the body much deeper than normal murder victims. According to Martin, FBI agents involved in the recovery were astonished.
“Typically they are two to three feet deep, this one was six feet deep,” said Martin. “It was the oldest body they had ever recovered and the deepest body they had ever recovered.”
An autopsy revealed two bullets wrapped up in the blankest which held the skeletal remains. The bullets confirmed the cause or death investigators had theorized with the evidence they gathered in 1983. As for why Hanna decided to reveal the secret now, Martin had no idea, but was glad he finally did.
“The most important piece of this case was to give the mother, her sister, and her son some kind of closure,” said Martin. “As a parent, I can’t imagine the agony that would cause for 35 years wondering where your daughter or son would be.”