33-year cold case finds life

ST. MARYS — A 52-year-old Florida man has been indicted in the 1981 murder of a St. Marys man in a case that remained active for decades and involved countless hours of police work.

Paul Hoover, 52, of Eustis, Fla., was indicted on one count of aggravated murder following an investigation that members of the St. Marys Police Department continued to pursue decades after it happened. Hoover appeared for a bond hearing on Thursday and was ordered held on a $2 million bond with a 10 percent cash provision on the first-degree felony charge. The indictment does not include a death penalty specification.

Hoover is charged with murdering Marcellus Reineke of St. Marys. Hoover was arrested Dec. 13 in Florida and waived extradition to Ohio. The investigation into the case remains ongoing as there are reportedly other people of interest who could be associated with the case. St. Marys Police Chief Mark Ernst and Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Pierce encouraged anyone with information to immediately contact the St. Marys Police Department.

“The police department is proud of all the hard work of all the officers who investigated the case during the past three decades who have brought this case to where it is,” Ernst told The Evening Leader.”

Ernst said despite the case being close to 33 years-old, it was never forgotten.

“It’s been something that we have been plugging away at,” Ernst said. “I know that depending upon what was going on at the police department, it would occasionally get set aside. Sometimes it’s hard to read old reports and make sense of what was going on. There was a lot of work put into going over the old reports, who needed to be reinterviewed and so forth. This has been a very timely process.”

Ernst praised the work of all those involved in the decades-long investigation.

“I think it shows the tenacity of all those involved,” Ernst said. “We don’t give up.”

Ernst said the Reineke case is the only uncleared murder within the city.

According to previous reports published in The Evening Leader, Reineke, 71, was found dead on Oct. 15, 1981, in his home at 229 S. West St., St. Marys. Reineke reportedly died from stab wounds. Reineke was a retired farmer at the time of his death. Published reports also indicted there was a fire at the residence.
Gary Liming lived next door to Reineke at the time of his death.

“He was a nice guy,” Liming told The Evening Leader. “He’d come over here and stick his head into the door and ask my wife if she would make him a pie ... He was a really nice guy and didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

Bill Eisert, Reineke’s nephew, said his uncle “was always jolly.” He said he is pleased that those who may be responsible for his uncle’s death may appear in court.

“He was always a good guy to me,” Eisert said. “It definitely is a relief. It’s good to know that they kept working on it and tried to get justice. One of the things I feel bad about is that all of his brothers and sisters have passed away and they won’t get to see justice done.”