PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) UPDATE: 12/11/2018 3:45 P.M.
More than 35 years after her disappearance, family members and friends of murder victim Leslie Marty gathered for her funeral on Tuesday.
The afternoon service was held at the Sunset Memory Gardens in south Parkersburg where she was laid to rest after the ceremony.
Marty was 20 years old when she disappeared in the summer of 1983.
Her body wasn't found until after Mark Hanna, the 60-year-old man serving a life sentence for her murder, finally told authorities where she was buried.
Armed with that information, authorities recovered Marty's remains on Nov. 7 at the former Shell Chemical employee park along the Ohio River outside Belpre.
A jury in Wood County Circuit Court found Hanna guilty of murder in 1997 even though her body had not been found. He was previously convicted of kidnapping in the early 1980s.
Funeral services for Leslie Diane Marty, whose remains were recovered and identified last month, are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Sunset Memory Gardens in Parkersburg.
She will be buried next to her brother, who passed away in April, 2018.
Harry Deitzler was Wood County's prosecuting attorney when Mark Hanna was convicted to kidnapping Leslie Diane Marty in 1983. Hanna was then sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole.
Deitzler then served as a special prosecutor when Hanna was convicted in 1998 of murdering Marty.
"It wasn't until the time when Mark was going to become eligible for parole that I brought up the suggestion that we try him on the murder charges," Deitzler recalled in a recent interview.
Even before his recent admission, Parkersburg Police and Wood County prosecutors for years tried to get Hanna to reveal the location of Leslie Marty's body.
"I told him it was only fair to Leslie's mother, sister and son that he reveal where she was," Deitzler said. "In one of his responses, Mark indicated she was in Ohio, but no further details."
Hanna did not reveal her whereabouts until September, in an interview that aired this week on Charleston television.
"I think he has his reasons for doing that," said Mary Brown, Leslie's mother. "But I don't know how well he can make silk out of the sow's ear of 35 years."
And Hanna was interviewed in October by Parkersburg Police, where he also explained the location in Belpre where Leslie's remains were recovered November 7.
"He wished for Leslie to have a proper Christian burial," said Police Chief Joe Martin, explaining why Hanna finally decided to reveal Leslie's whereabouts. "He didn't say he was sorry. He did tell us how he killed her."
Police add he did more than reveal a location. He revealed things that confirmed what police had known all along-and some things they hadn't.
"He provided information to us that had never been disclosed to law enforcement before," said Lt. Greg Nangle, a police detective, "pertaining to something as simple as, he wrapped her up in a blanket."
"Everything he basically told us was confirming what the detectives and investigators who had worked the case years ago proved to be accurate," Chief Martin added.
Both Martin and Nangle said there was no indication Hanna showed remorse for Leslie's killing.
Police say they don't plan to pursue any further charges against Hanna.
"In a sense, you can say there's some closure," Deitzler said. "I am so sorry to Leslie, her mother, her sister and her son that there wasn't more we could do."
From a legal standpoint, it might not completely be the end of the Hanna case.
He has pending in Wood County Circuit Court a writ of Habeas Corpus, regarding his past legal representation.
But the recovery of Leslie Marty's remains means an end to one of the area's longest recent mysteries.
Anyone who has dealt with the disappearance and death of a family member can understand what Leslie Diane Marty's mother has faced.
But what may be different is that-for more than three decades, until very recently-she did not know for certain what had happened to her daughter.
"I cried a lot for years," Mary Brown told us.
And she said she became more concerned about her other children after Leslie's disappearance.
She said she also became concerned about Leslie immediately after she was seen in late July of 1983.
"There was no phone call or anything. I just kept hoping and waiting for some information. But there was nothing."
Nonetheless, until the recent recovery of her body, Brown kept believing that someday, Leslie would be found. She and her family members submitted DNA and dental records to investigators-evidence that led to the identification of her remains.
Leslie Marty had once worked for Mark Hanna, in an electronics store he ran in the early 1980's. Eventually, they dated. But as Marty's mother told us, eventually, that relationship turned sour.
Leslie was close to her brother, who passed away on April 21, 2018.
She also left behind a small child.
"And you never forget a 4 1/2 year old little boy telling you, 'If my mommy came back again, I'd never be bad again', Never."
Brown did not want to believe at first that convict Mark Hanna would lead authorities to the site where Leslie would be found.
But now that that has happened, she has a message for other families who have gone through the same ordeal.
"Never give up hope...never...never give up hope."
A former Parkersburg police chief, who served as a detective in the kidnapping and murder of Leslie Diane Marty, said investigators all along had an idea where her body had been buried.
"We always thought she might have been in Ohio anyhow, but he nevertheless put the exclamation mark on that issue," said Newell, who served in the police department before he was Parkersburg's mayor from 2006-2015.
It wasn't until this fall that convict Mark Francis Hanna gave police an exact location. The search took place November 7, with the use of a backhoe and a bucket, at a former employees park off Ohio Route 618 in Belpre.
Even with Hanna's directions, the search was not easy.
"It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack," says Lt. Greg Nangle. "We had information, but how accurate it was was questionable."
Then, there was the time involved since Marty went missing: 35 years.
A time during which there were numerous storms, floods and other weather-related events.
"We were concerned that the river had widened, and the remains, if they were there, had been washed away," Lt. Nangle said.
Parkersburg Police admitted to me that they had become concerned after nearly half a day of digging. But Lt. Nangle says they were encouraged on by an FBI agent who was on the scene for the recovery of the body.
"Before we began digging, the supervisor from the FBI in Cincinnati said, 'Lieutenant, if she's here, we will find her."
And because of that determination, Marty's family has a sense of relief going into the holiday season.
"To do a proper burial, and give her some closure and some peace," said Police Chief Joe Martin, "that her daughter has been found after all this time."