Erika J. Sukovich was 19 years old when she was murdered. Her body was found in Odessa, Florida, more than 50 years ago, and the person responsible for her death has yet to be brought to justice.
In June 1971, Sukovich moved out of her parents’ home in Madeira Beach, Florida, and moved in with her then-25-year-old boyfriend, Charles Martin.
The couple began dating after meeting at a car wash in Pinellas County, where they worked, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Sukovich and Martin were residents of a mobile home at the Seminole Trailer Park in Odessa until August 1972. They then moved to another trailer park at Rt. 1, Box 430B, just north of Tarpon Springs Road.
Three months later, on Nov. 13, 1972, Erika J. Sukovich was found dead.
When Martin returned home from his job as a construction worker around 5:19 p.m. that day, he discovered Sukovich in the backyard, laying facedown.
Martin called 911 after his neighbors confirmed that she was dead.
An autopsy revealed that Sukovich had been shot to death. She was shot once in the back and twice in the head with a small-caliber weapon.
The forensic pathologists stated that she had been dead for several hours before her fully clothed body was found.
Investigators could not establish a motive, as Sukovich was not sexually assaulted and her home had not been disturbed, according to a 1972 report from The Miami Herald.
Martin was questioned by the police twice. He told them that he was at work around the time Sukovich would have been murdered.
Maj. John Salla with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said, “His story will be checked, and he will be given a polygraph examination.”
It is unknown if Martin took a polygraph examination or if his story checked out.
Anyone with information regarding the unsolved murder of Erika J. Sukovich is encouraged to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Section at (813) 247-8660.