CLAYTON, Ga. — Police are investigating after a 70-year-old man was found dead just hours after he was reported missing.
Channel 2 Action News was at the scene in Clayton County where at least a dozen police officers and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were just after 11 p.m. Thursday.
Authorities told Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes that Robert Page's family reported him missing earlier in the day.
Using a neighbor's surveillance video, police were able to arrest Christian Ponce-Martinez, 25, after he was seen on Page's property.
Police said he murdered Page and then dismembered and hid Page's body.
“The officers went to the back of the residence and located the offender hiding under a couch, acting very nervous and suspicious. Officers then noticed a trail of blood. They followed it and it was Robert Page’s dismembered remains," Maj. Craig Hammer said.
Investigators are still trying to figure out a motive. They said the two did not know each other. Ponce-Martinez moved in next door just three months ago, and the men’s paths had not crossed.
Ponce-Martinez was renting a room, and police said he moved to Morrow from Mexico. They're working with federal investigators to determine if he came to America legally.
Page had been married to his wife, Lula, for nearly 50 years. She’s the one who reported him missing when she came home from work and he wasn’t there.
“He’s irreplaceable. The personality he had was priceless. Nobody will ever be able to top him,” his grandson, Bobby Austin, told Fernandes.
He described his grandfather as one of the nicest, most humble, helpful people anyone could meet.
“Even if you weren’t related to him, if he saw that you were a younger nice person, he would say, 'You’re my grandson or granddaughter' or 'You’re my son or daughter,' something like that. He was a very (embracing) person … and to go in such a tragic way, it just hit us all really hard at the moment,” Austin said.
Neighbors were shocked by the situation.
“He was a great guy. He helped me build my driveway and all. We talked every day and he helped me build my fence and my gate and all, and we were just friends,” one neighbor told Fernandes. “I don’t have any words for it. It was just crazy to know something that outrageous could happen right next door.”
Ponce-Martinez was charged with malice murder and is currently in the Clayton County jail without bail.
Police said Ponce-Martinez has been not only uncooperative but also combative. On Friday night, police added an obstruction charge against him for his alleged behavior at the police department.
Cox Media Group