Georgia man Robert Page’s wife of nearly 50 years reported him missing about 5 p.m. on Thursday after she returned home and found him gone. According to reports, police began and ended their search for the 70-year-old Page at the home of his neighbor Christian Ponce-Martinez, after surveillance video from the home of a neighbor showed the suspect outside the Pages’ home earlier in the day.
Fox 5 Atlanta reported that officers found Martinez hiding under a couch when they entered his home. They said he seemed nervous and behaved in a suspicious manner. It wasn’t long before investigators noticed a trail of blood at the home. They followed the trail through the backyard and about 11 p.m. discovered the dismembered remains of the elderly minister who had been his neighbor. Martinez had placed Page’s body parts in a cooler that he had hidden under two tarps in his backyard.
WSB-TV 2 reported that the two men are not believed to have known each other. They aren’t believed to have even ever interacted with each other. Police are unsure of a motive and say that 25-year-old Martinez had lived next door to the Pages for about three months after moving to Georgia from Mexico. During those months, he was renting a room in the house next door to the Pages.
Christian Ponce-Martinez is currently being held in a Clayton County jail in Georgia without bail on charges of malice murder, as well as obstruction because of his “combative” and “uncooperative” behavior at the time of his arrest. Officials are still working to determine whether Martinez was in the country legally.
NEW DETAILS: Grandfather’s dismembered body found in neighbor’s backyard, police say https://t.co/exNXpOVHXy
— AJC (@ajc) November 10, 2018
Neighbors are in shock over the murder, and everyone who spoke with reporters remembered Page as a kind person. His grandson, Bobby Austin, described him as one-of-a-kind.
“He’s irreplaceable. The personality he had was priceless. Nobody will ever be able to top him. 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.”
Neighbors recalled times Page had helped them and described him as “dearly loved.” One recounted how he helped him build his driveway, fence, and gate and said they spoke to one another every day. He called his murder “outrageous” and “crazy.”