35 Years Later: The discovery of Leslie Marty

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) -- Authorities confirmed at a news conference late Monday morning that they have found and identified the remains of a Parkersburg woman who went missing in 1983.

Leslie Diane Marty was 20 years old when she disappeared. Her remains were found in November in Washington County.

A former Parkersburg police chief, who served as a detective in the kidnapping and murder of Leslie Diane Marty, said investigators all along had an idea where her body had been buried.

"We always thought she might have been in Ohio anyhow, but he nevertheless put the exclamation mark on that issue," said Newell, who served in the police department before he was Parkersburg's mayor from 2006-2015.

It wasn't until this fall that convict Mark Francis Hanna gave police an exact location. The search took place November 7, with the use of a backhoe and a bucket, at a former employees park off Ohio Route 618 in Belpre.

Even with Hanna's directions, the search was not easy.

"It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack," says Lt. Greg Nangle. "We had information, but how accurate it was was questionable."

Then, there was the time involved since Marty went missing: 35 years.
A time during which there were numerous storms, floods and other weather-related events.

"We were concerned that the river had widened, and the remains, if they were there, had been washed away," Lt. Nangle said.

Parkersburg Police admitted to me that they had become concerned after nearly half a day of digging. But Lt. Nangle says they were encouraged on by an FBI agent who was on the scene for the recovery of the body.

"Before we began digging, the supervisor from the FBI in Cincinnati said, 'Lieutenant, if she's here, we will find her."

And because of that determination, Marty's family has a sense of relief going into the holiday season.

"To do a proper burial, and give her some closure and some peace," said Police Chief Joe Martin, "that her daughter has been found after all this time."