An Arkansas man is accused of strangling his mother and storing her remains in a freezer, all the while faking social media posts to make it look like she moved to Hawaii, and draining a significant amount of money from her bank accounts to start his wedding DJ business, authorities allege.
Raymond Martin Jr., 49, was jailed at the Faulkner County Detention Center in the death of Nancy Glover-Warren, 68, whose frozen remains were found at the home they shared with the suspect’s disabled brother, who she cared for. In addition to the capital murder charge, Martin faces charges of abuse of a corpse, forgery, fraudulent use of a credit/debit card, and theft of property, police said in a news release.
While police believe the victim was killed on April 19, an affidavit filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court and obtained by Law&Crime spells out how the gruesome crime came to light on June 24. Conway police responded to a request for a welfare check at the home on Zachary Trail after family members reported last hearing from Glover-Warren via text in late April, saying she went to Hawaii and decided to retire there.
“This seemed odd to the family since this news came to them with no warning,” the affidavit said. “They also found it odd that Nancy would leave her 48-year-old son, who requires continual support due to his cognitive abilities and significant needs.”
Once at the home, police could not find anyone.
But shortly after knocking on the door, police learned the family began receiving messages from her phone number, saying she was angry the police were called and embarrassed her neighbors were talked to, the court document said.
In multiple messages, she purportedly told family members she spent her entire life caring for her family, and it was time for her to “enjoy her retirement.”
“She went on to explain that she had begun a relationship with someone in Hawaii and that she is very happy and carefree there,” the affidavit said.
Martin also texted family members saying the police visit “upset his mother greatly,” the document said. He allegedly said they contacted the police department and spoke with officers.
“The family also received multiple believable and well-crafted text messages from Nancy explaining the situation,” the document said.
The suspect allegedly told police she went to Hawaii for her mental health at a doctor’s suggestion, Facetimed with her weekly, and spoke with her by phone. When police asked if they could talk to her, he said they wouldn’t be able to until January, according to the affidavit.
The investigation intensified when a friend got a text on July 5 saying she was reading on a beach, police said. When the friend asked for a photo, the friend got one — an edited image of a beach in Hawaii from a news article, the affidavit said.
Due to “inconsistent stories, lack of logical reasoning for the sudden move, photoshopped images coming from Nancy’s phone and continued concern for her wellbeing,” authorities said a search warrant was drafted for her cellphone location.
The location data tracked her phone not to a tropical Hawaiian beach but to her home address on Zachary Trail, the affidavit said.
Police learned that officers were called to the home two days before they believe the victim was killed, after an argument between mom and son near their home on April 17 prompted a disturbance call to law enforcement. When police arrived then, Martin told officers she had been drinking, acting erratic and that her mental health was declining due to a fall and multiple strokes, the affidavit said.
“Officers noticed the confused mental state of Nancy,” the affidavit said.
Family members said she and Martin, who had been living with her for two to three years while unemployed, did not get along well. They told police they had heard “hostile conversations” between the two. She also told them she feared him and that if anything ever happened to her, he would be the one to do it, the affidavit said.
Police learned later that he had allegedly forged a check in her name for around $6,000 and made up the story about Hawaii in posts he published on her Facebook account from home, the document said.
While being detained, Martin initially told investigators the made-up story about her going to Hawaii, but when police found her frost-accumulated body in a large standup freezer in the garage and confronted him about it, he ultimately admitted to killing her, saying they had a troubled relationship, police said in the affidavit.
He allegedly told police he believed she had dementia and had become violent with him more frequently. He also claimed she pushed him and called him derogatory names based on his sexual orientation, the affidavit said.
Martin claimed to investigators that he killed his mother after she pushed him down the stairs and came at him with a knife while they were planning a cookout, according to court documents.
The defendant allegedly told police he grabbed her from behind and choked her until she was unconscious, describing how he held “a tight grip on her throat” until she died, the affidavit said. He then got a bag from the kitchen to put over her head because he could not look at her.
“She had a single tear running down her cheek,” the affidavit quotes the son speaking with investigators.
He then allegedly wrapped her in a moving blanket and placed her in the freezer.
Police said Martin admitted to posting the fake Facebook posts the day after he killed her, which police said happened on April 19. He said he came up with the story about Hawaii after one of her family members died, forcing a “time crunch,” the affidavit said.
After she died, police allege he immediately began making large purchases using her debit card and made cash withdrawals from ATMs.
When police asked what his plan was, he allegedly said he wanted to open a DJ business with his brother and DJ weddings and dances, the affidavit said.
When an investigator asked him why he didn’t come forward, he allegedly stated: “There would be no money to pay for the home if it wasn’t for her accounts.”
It was not clear Saturday whether he had an attorney. He is scheduled for arraignment on Aug. 14 and has not yet entered a plea, court records showed.
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Raymond Martin Jr. allegedly killed Nancy Glover-Warren
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