How a 2009 Arson Solved a 1985 Murder - Ohio

Nov 19, 2015

An Ohio man who set his property and a neighbor’s on fire in 2009 witlessly paved the way for prosecutors to prove he also strangled his pregnant wife in 1985. 

The asphyxiation of 24-year-old Margaret Purk was originally ruled a suicide, but investigators took another look at the cold case after arresting her widower 25 years later on two counts of arson.

Suspecting him of foul play in Purk’s premature passing too, her body was exhumed and a coroner subsequently discovered that the belt she “killed herself” with was actually the murder weapon.

Scott Purk was then charged with homicide and evidence tampering in his spouse’s bogus hanging, for which the jailed arsonist was indicted last year and finally tried in November.

This week, after a 6-day trial and three long decades, a jury convicted Margaret Purk’s now-53-year-old husband of her strangulation death.

He’s expected to be sentenced for the cold case crime next week.




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