Torture, murder, and dismemberment of teen

December 17, 1938
19-year-old Margaret Martin is abducted, tortured, sexually assaulted, and murdered

Martin was last seen getting into a car after a brief conversation with a man; she had told family a man had contacted her for a secretarial position and it is suspected the man in the automobile was the same who set up the fake interview.

Martin was taken to a sawmill where she was strangled, beaten, and “suffered the molestation of a degenerate.” She had knife wounds on her abdomen and thighs, as well as bruising to her throat and other parts of her body. Her murderer then dismembered her body which police believed was in an attempt to destroy the remains in the mill’s firebox, but was interrupted by the mill’s owner. The owner told police later he thought he heard a trespasser and fired a warning shot, not knowing the full severity of the crime. The murderer fled the mill with Martin’s body, dumping it in a creek.

Initially, police and newspapers speculated Martin had become the victim of a sex slavery ring, but when her nude and mutilated body was discovered on December 21, that theory was discarded. It was noted that Martin had been dead for less than 24 hours by the time her body was found, meaning she had remained alive with her captor and eventual murderer for at least 3 days.

Though many theories circulated through the community, no suspect was charged with the murder. The case remains unsolved.

The discovery of Martin’s body

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