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Posted on Sat. Nov. 10, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

Local hunt launched for Ohio slaying suspect

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FORT WAYNE — Authorities are searching Fort Wayne and elsewhere for a man accused of shooting his girlfriend to death this week during a domestic dispute in Rockford, Ohio.

Daniel C. “Charles” Martin, 40, faces a murder charge, accused of killing Melinda S. Shinn, 26, at their mobile home, Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said.

Grey said Martin has family in Fort Wayne and his red 1998 Ford Explorer was found in the city Thursday. He said Fort Wayne officers have been helping Ohio authorities look for Martin.

“Probably somebody in Fort Wayne knows where he’s at,” the sheriff said, asking anyone with information about Martin’s whereabouts to call local police or his office at 419-586-7724.

Grey said Martin has a lengthy criminal record and should be considered armed and dangerous. He’s described as 5-foot-11, 230 pounds and black with black hair and brown eyes.

Rockford police learned of Shinn’s death about 10:45 a.m. Thursday after responding to a report of a possible shooting at the couple’s mobile home.

Rockford Police Chief Paul May found Shinn dead in the home and asked the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office to take the lead in the case, Grey said.

Neighbors told investigators the couple had been arguing Wednesday night, which was corroborated by messages found on Shinn’s cellphone.

“There were text messages that Melinda had sent to others outside the home about the argument,” Grey said.

Shinn’s 9-year-old son was at home when the shooting occurred. The boy, who is not Martin’s son, is now with relatives, the sheriff said.

Through interviews, investigators quickly developed Martin as a suspect.

“We were interested in him right away,” Grey said.

He said Rockford police had previously been to the home twice regarding domestic disputes.

Grey said the Rockford police chief could not recall a homicide ever occurring before in the close-knit village of about 1,100 people about 12 miles southwest of Van Wert.

“It’s just a small community where everybody knows everybody,” he said.

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