Date: July 19, 2000 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact: Michal Shanley, 863 534-6631 or 819-0397 pager
Davenport Man Charged With Murder

Less than 48 hours after the discovery of an unidentified body of a nude female homicide victim at a construction site on Monday, Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives charged 33-year-old Davenport resident Matthew Welsh with her murder. 

Welsh, DOB 1/6/67, of 2525 Frontage Road Lot #253 in Davenport, was charged last night (Tuesday, July 18) with First Degree Murder in the death of Nancy Martinez, of 1017 First Street in Lake Wales. The Polk County Medical Examiner has identified strangulation and/or drowning as the cause of the victim's death. Diesel fuel was found in her lungs, and her body had been doused with the substance. The diesel fuel appears to be from a tank near where her body was found. The tank had been moved to that location with a front-end loader that was still running at the time of the discovery of the body. 

Welsh is being held in the Orange County Jail, where he was booked in Monday on an out-of-state warrant. Investigation revealed that Welsh called 911 on Monday morning (morning the body was discovered) in an attempt to blame the murder on his wife and her male friend. He told 911 operators that the body had been doused with fuel-a fact that had not been released. The 911 call was traced to a pay phone in Orlando, where Orange County Sheriff's deputies located Welsh after a short foot pursuit. It was discovered that Welsh was wanted for violation of parole from Maryland and additional warrants from Bay and Leon Counties in Florida. He was taken into custody on those warrants. 

Polk Detectives responded to Orange County and questioned Welsh. He continued to blame his wife and her friend for the murder, telling detectives the pair had been involved in a drug deal that had "gone bad" and ended in murder. Detectives interviewed Welsh's wife, Tracy Welsh, who explained that her husband had been harassing her and had hit her at her place of employment on Sunday night, and had chased her in a motor home for several miles after she left work. She told detectives that she had called the suspect the next morning (Monday) around 10 a.m., at which time he told her he had killed someone and that if she did not believe it, she could watch the noon news. Detectives believe the suspect had driven by the crime scene the morning the body was discovered and had seen a local TV news van covering the story. 

A motor home was located near the pay phone where Welsh had placed the 911 calls. Evidence from the motor home - which was reported stolen from Bay County - matched evidence at the crime scene. A witness observed the victim getting into the motor home around 3 a.m. Monday morning in the Orange Blossom Trail area of Orlando. The motor home sped away after approximately 30 minutes. Welsh admits that he had been in possession of the motor home, but denies killing the victim. 


Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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