Victim identified in Longboat sauna death

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Longboat Key Police have ripped up the floors of the sauna at the Moorings and sent numerous pieces of evidence to laboratories in an effort to determine if the 54-year-old woman was murdered or committed suicide.

The woman, identified as Lori Ann Martin, who was discovered deceased in the sauna on Jan. 23. Police did not identify the victim to the media, however, social media postings have identified the victim as Lori Martin, a former resident of Howland, Ohio.

According to Police Chief Pete Cumming, she suffered, “severe trauma.”

Cumming said the scene could be characterized as either a homicide or “intense suicide” and that although he and detectives met with the District 12 Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Russell Vega last Wednesday, the manner of death still cannot be conclusively determined.

Cumming told Longboat Key News on Friday, Feb. 1, that additional lab work, analysis and tests are forthcoming in the next week, but the police department is proceeding on all fronts with the investigation.

Longboat Key Police have interviewed dozens of people associated with Martin as well as relatives and friends in an effort to make sense of the death.

If it is ruled a homicide, it would make the third murder on Longboat Key in the last six months. Two employees of the Zota Beach Resort were found dead last August after being gunned down by a former security guard who had worked at the hotel.

According to Cumming, the deceased left a boat at the Moorings around 11 a.m. and her body was discovered at about 5 p.m. that afternoon in the sauna. It is estimated that she died between 12 noon and 2 p.m. on Jan. 23.

An obituary for Martin is now posted on the Lane Funeral Home website, and says she received a Bachelor’s Degree from Youngstown University in 1986 where she majored in Chemistry and Math. She was born on Feb. 9, 1963 in Niles, Ohio and worked in the engineering field, retiring in 2007 as a supervisor in product engineering.

In 1992, Lori Martin married Dave, and according to the obituary, built and remodeled homes and in 2010, purchased a motor yacht, Phase II, and began cruising the intercoastal waters of Florida. The couple moved aboard the yacht full-time and that led the couple to the Sarasota and Longboat Key area.

Chief Cumming maintains that he still does not know if the trauma was self-inflicted or not and hopes the pending toxicology tests and DNA samples shed light on the case.

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