Louisiana couple to be charged in Louisville murders

Published: Aug. 16, 2007 at 9:07 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2007 at 3:18 PM EDT
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a.k.a. Travis Guntenaar
a.k.a. Travis Guntenaar
Hugh Patrick O'Dea, murder victim
Hugh Patrick O'Dea, murder victim

By Connie Leonard
WAVE 3 Investigator

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- Local police say there is a connection between two Louisville murders and several other heinous crimes across the country. They now believe a couple from Louisiana may be responsible for several crimes including the murders of 69 year old Hugh Patrick O'Dea and an unidentified man who was found last week in the Shelby Park neighborhood. WAVE 3 Investigator Connie Leonard has the latest.

A murder victim's neighbor in Minnesota asks a local reporter, "My God, who's doing something like this?" It's the question being asked in several states and according to police the answer is a Louisiana couple who allegedly turned unsuspecting people into victims everywhere they went. Now Metro Police believe two Louisville men are among them.

27 year old Travis Guntenaar -- who also goes by the name Jeremy Brooks -- and his girlfriend 28 year old Coty Martinez are now believed to be the alleged killers of 69 year old Hugh Patrick O'Dea and an unidentified man who's decomposed body was found last week in an apartment on St. Paul Court.

In O'Dea's case, he disappeared July 24th after leaving work. Metro Police put out local surveillance video of a man wanted in connection with O'Dea's disappearance. They now believe Guntenaar -- AKA Brooks -- is that man. O'Dea's body was August 4th discovered in a wooded area off River Road.

LMPD Homicide Lt. Barry Wilkerson told WAVE 3 on Thursday, "It appears at this point, that there's no real direct correlation between the two homicide victims except that they made contact with our suspects."

Martinez and Guntenaar -- who were allegedly kicked out of their home for making narcotics -- had warrants out for their arrest after a June 2nd attempted murder and robbery at a motel in Louisiana. They are also wanted in the August 3rd murder of 58 year old Ruth Ann Ouverson of Minnesota. Police there say after the two killed her, they took off in her car and Guntenaar was seen on surveillance video using her ATM card.

Police say Martinez was the first to get caught Tuesday night in North Dakota when they say she knocked on the door of an 86 year old woman using the ploy to ask for help with food and money. The woman got suspicious and her son called police. Guntenaar -- or Brooks -- showed up at the same house looking for Martinez and a massive manhunt with more than 100 officers including the FBI began over a huge area of farmland. Police believe he set several fires destroying barns and other buildings to distract them but, was finally spotted walking across a wheat field Thursday morning about a mile from the last blaze.

Louisville Metro Police say they will ask the Commonwealth Attorney Monday to indict the couple on murder charges here and with the theft of Patrick O'Dea's car.

Meanwhile, members of the O'Dea family say they are extremely pleased that an arrest has been made and are pleased with the way Metro detectives handled this case. They add, "We remain disappointed and saddened someone would take Patrick's life and cannot understand why anyone would do this to a wonderful, caring gentleman, brother and father. Further, we are outraged by the fact that Patrick may not have been their only victim, so other families would have to feel the same pain we do. We can only hope now these criminals receive the punishment they deserve."

Online Reporter:  Connie Leonard

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway