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Man arrested on charges of killing Sumter woman

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SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. - A man was arrested on charges of killing a woman in Sumter County, authorities said Wednesday.

Ralph Harold Penrod was arrested in the death of Martha Jane Wever, whose decomposed remains were found behind a truck stop at State Road 44 and Interstate 75 last April.

A sketch of the victim put together by a forensic anthropologist helped bring in tips, authorities said.

Dr. Erin Kimmerle took a three-dimensional scan of the victim's skull, collected samples of her hair and added her glasses. 

"Truly a remarkable resemblance, once you're able to put the pieces together," said Capt. Kevin Hofecker of the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's detectives circulated the image nationwide. Friends of Wever's, from as far away as Michigan and Kentucky, saw the sketch online and contacted police.

Investigators said the evidence led detectives to a Tavares trailer in Lake County this week where Penrod had been living since the Wever's death.

As Penrod was being led away by deputies, WFTV reporter Berndt Petersen asked, "Ralph, did you kill Jane?"

Penrod did not reply.

Detectives said he and Wever were life-long friends, but said Penrod shot her to death in a rugged area near Wildwood for money.

"I can tell you the motive of this case apparently looks like it's financial gain," said Sumter County Sheriff Bill Farmer.

For months after Wever's death, deputies said Penrod was still collecting and cashing her pension checks.

Members of Wever's family were in Sumter County Wednesday to talk about the break in the case and the circumstances that led to her death.

"She certainly wasn't wealthy.  What people will do for a little bit of money, what they're capable of doing, it was certainly no reason for this to happen," said Wever's brother Dale Sturtz.

Sturtz, a former sheriff, from Indiana fought back tears as he praised detectives and the Sumter County Sheriff for arresting Penrod.

Penrod is being held without bond in the Sumter County Jail.