Crackdown on Crime - Deadly mystery surrounds busy intersection

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The intersection of Ihles Road and Country Club Road holds a deadly mystery. For nearly five years Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's investigators haven't been able to figure out how a Lake Charles man's lifeless body ended up here.

"It's a busy intersection. It happened about 3:50 in the afternoon so for nobody to see and nobody to know what happened to him is a little strange," said Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

It was one of the first homicides for then newly elected Sheriff Mancuso's administration. He says detectives have interviewed countless witnesses who showed up on scene afterwards and reviewed nearby bank surveillance video, but still no clues to how 28-year-old James Martin Jr. came to be here with severe head injuries.

"Whether he was struck by a vehicle or whether he was pushed out of a vehicle or whether he fell out of a vehicle - somebody was in contact with him at that point. He had to have gotten there some way," said Mancuso.

What investigators do know is that less than an hour before he was found unresponsive on the side of the road, witnesses say Martin was last seen walking in the 700 block of Craft Street. Martin's family says he didn't have a car and usually accepted rides from others.

"We feel like he left craft street with somebody. We don't feel like he could have traveled from Craft Street a little after 3 and made it to that location on foot. It would have taken too long," explained Mancuso.

So what happened from point "A" to point "B"? Who offered Martin that ride? And who took his life? For now the unsolved case of James Martin Jr. will remain classified a homicide until proven otherwise.

Anyone with information is asked to call Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Cold Case Investigator Ramby Cormier at 494-4523 or Crime Stoppers at 439-2222.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)