Detective: Sandusky Co. cold case hatchet murder solved - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Detective: Sandusky Co. cold case hatchet murder solved

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A gruesome cold case from 1988 is solved, according to investigators.

A detective in Sandusky County says tips from the public are to thank for helping investigators identify who they believe is responsible for the murder of a Bellevue woman with a hatchet.

13abc's Christine Long reports on the shocking twist in the investigation from the Sheriff's Office in Fremont.

The tips came in about this case after the 25-year-old mystery was featured on a cable TV show last fall.  At the time, the prime murder suspect was the victim's husband. Now, he's been cleared.

"I think we, as a Sheriff's Office, truly know who is responsible for her death," says Detective Captain Sean O'Connell with the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office.

Sandusky County is taking new evidence, which includes witnesses and documents, in the case of Isabel Cordle to a grand jury next month looking for a criminal indictment.

"I think it's actually two persons that coordinated her death," says O'Connell. "However, I believe the second person involved is no longer with us. He is now deceased."

On January 24, 1988, the 49-year-old fell asleep on the couch inside her Bellevue home and never woke up.  Someone hit her in the head with a hatchet. Police found the murder weapon outside leaning up against a tree.

Last year the Sheriff's Office reopened the unsolved case with the help of a new TNT show called "Cold Justice."

As the episode aired last October, the main suspect remained Cordle's husband Richard, who said he was asleep and found his wife dead when he walked downstairs in the morning.

After the show, tips came in to focus on another man.

Investigators eventually eliminated Isabel's husband as a suspect, as well as John Onest, who called himself the "Hatchet Man."

According to O'Connell, the remaining person of interest is Mark Carter.

"He's somebody that we have gone out and looked into and we still believe that he is a very strong person of interest," says O'Connell.

Carter was in prison at the time of Isabel's murder. He was serving time for allegedly molesting Isabel's 14-year-old son about a year before she died.

 "He's involved because there's always that remote possibility he may have coordinated something from within the prison walls," says O'Connell. "Mark Carter was sentenced to two and a half years in prison back in July of 1987."

The detective says Carter now lives in Clyde and maintains his innocence.

The case will next be in the hands of a grand jury.

"I'm comfortable in the hopes to get an indictment and I'm comfortable in the hopes that we can take it to a trial and get a conviction," says O'Connell.

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