Woman whose severed head found in luggage identified by Illinois coroner’s office

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CHICAGO — Officials on Friday released the identity of a 31-year-old woman whose remains were stuffed in duffel bags and brought to Chicago aboard a Greyhound bus.

Ladawndra Ellington lived in Louisville, Kentucky, according to Carolyn Smith, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County coroner’s office in that state.

The man suspected in her killing, Melvin Martin Jr., 30, of Kentucky, has initially been charged with fleeing prosecution. He had been staying with family in Markham, according to police and Markham spokesman Michael Taylor.

Martin remains in Cook County Jail, awaiting extradition.

He was arrested Monday at the Markham Public Library after curious family members peeked into the bags that Martin seemed preoccupied with during his stay, Taylor said.

A severed head and other body parts were found in the bags, while police in Kentucky found the woman’s torso, he said.

Martin had been staying with family for about a week, and family members became curious after he asked them on at least two occasions to purchase clothing for him despite arriving on a Greyhound bus in Chicago toting the bags, Taylor said.

Martin eventually moved the two bags to the home’s garage, and the family made the discovery after Martin had left for the library, Taylor said.

At a news conference Wednesday, Markham police Chief Terry White said the woman was Martin’s girlfriend, and that it appears the woman’s death was the result of a domestic dispute that occurred about a month ago.

Taylor said that Martin had made efforts to conceal any foul odors that would have come from the body parts.

Taylor said he did not know the relationship between Martin and the Markham family.


(Daily Southtown’s Mike Nolan contributed to this report.)


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