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FORREST CITY -- Forrest City Police arrested Seth Hill yesterday for the murder of Clayton Soto.  Hill was taken into custody during a pre-dawn raid at his home. Hill attempted to flee out the back door of his house but was apprehended by two officers who were stationed outside.


Following the murder of Clayton Soto, Forrest City police were able to narrow the potential suspect pool to six people who were involved in an excavation project on Grimm Island in the weeks prior to his death. FCPD also retained a Special Detective to assist in finding Soto's killer.


GPS TELLS A STORY.  During the investigation, suspects Taylor Mills and Yuri Petrov were both eliminated as suspects based on data obtained from a search warrant for the GPS system in Mills' car. The GPS data, coupled with visual confirmation from traffic cameras, established that Mills and Petrov were in the neighboring city of Port St. James when Soto's murder occurred. Since Mills and Petrov were not in Forrest City when Soto was killed, they could not have committed the crime.


DINNER AT HOT POT. Suspect Isaac Roberts was ruled out based on documentary evidence obtained during the investigation.  First, a receipt from the Haidalao Hot Pot restaurant indicated that two people had dinner at the restaurant on 06/27, arriving at 6:55 pm and leaving at 8:03 pm. Second, a credit card statement from Forrest City Bank for account holder Issac Roberts confirmed that Roberts paid for dinner at the Haidilao Hot Pot on the night of 06/27 in the identical amounts as those on the receipt.  Since Roberts was present at the restaurant when Soto was killed, he is not the killer.


A LIGHTHOUSE LECTURE. Suspect Greg Lenz could not have been the killer because he was giving a lecture at Arrington College on the history of the Thorn Lighthouse during the period that Soto's murder occurred. An article in the Forrest City Tribune reveals that Lenz was chosen as a last-minute lecturer for the event and did, in fact, give the lecture at Arrington College. An invitation to the lecture recovered during the investigation provides the date and time frame that the lecture occurred.  Lenz could not have killed Soto.


A FRACTURED RADIUS.  Suspect Peter Ferrioli could not have been the killer based on a patient record summary from Forrest City Hospital. The report states that Ferrioli suffered a compound fracture of his left wrist during an accident that occurred on Grimm Island. Surgery was performed on Ferrioli, and a plate and screws were placed in his left wrist on June 25.  The report further states that Ferrioli suffered a concussion and experienced a loss of consciousness at the time of the accident.  Since he was experiencing blurry vision, Ferrioli was admitted to the hospital for further treatment and observation after the surgery. He was discharged seventy-two hours after admission. Since Ferrioli was a patient under observation in Forrest City Hospital when Soto was killed, he could not have been the murderer.


THE KILLER.  Seth Hill is the only suspect that does not have an alibi for the murder of Clayton Soto. But what was his motive for murder?  The Special Detective retained by the Forrest City Police uncovered the answer.  


A marketing postcard for Trident Marine Salvage was found in the evidence that contained a website address. Going to the website displayed a webpage for Trident Marine Salvage with a trident symbol. Clicking on the Trident symbol relieved a hidden page that was password protected.


The Special Detective realized that the keychain in the case file also displayed a trident symbol and a phrase in Latin: "LEX NAUFRAGII," which means "law of shipwreck." This phrase was used as the password to access the hidden webpage - an email server for Trident Marine Salvage revealing the text of emails containing the search term “Grimm Island.”


One of the emails was from attorney Whitney Larsen at the law firm of Oglevie, Thorn & Sharp sent to the partners in the Grimm Islands venture when they established the new business entity, Grimm Ventures, Ltd.  It also revealed the ownership structure of the new Grimm Ventures business entity. 


40 %    Clayton Soto (Managing partner)

12 %    Issac Roberts

10 %    Yuri Petrov

38 %    Seth Hill


Attorney Larsen also stated in the email that in the event of the incapacity or death of a partner, that partner's remaining shares would be distributed equally between the remaining partners. 


This evidence shows the financial motive for Seth Hill to murder Soto. With Clayton Soto dead, Soto's ownership interest in the company would be distributed equally among the other partners. Seth Hill would then own a controlling interest with 51% ownership. He would control Grimm Ventures, Ltd. and the excavation on the island to recover the buried fortune.




With Seth Hill’s arrest, the excavation project on Grimm Island is on hold until the remaining partners, Issac Roberts and Yuri Petrov, decide how to proceed. Sources indicate that they may bring in new partners and restart the excavation later this year. The mystery of John the Hermit (Ansalom Green) and how he first obtained his hidden fortune has yet to be solved. Could the Thorn Lighthouse be at the center of another mystery?


Marco Diaz continues to recover from his injuries. He will not return to his job with Grimm Ventures and plans to go to Arrington College to pursue a degree in nursing. Issac Roberts has offered to pay his tuition for the first year.


Sergio Larsen was rushed to the hospital for a pulmonary embolism resulting from his prior injuries. He went into cardiac arrest but was revived in the ambulance. Larsen died the following day.


Gretchen Roberts has moved away from Forrest City and plans to go to college to study archaeology. Peter Ferrioli returned to his job as a heavy equipment operator at Minor. His fiancé, Anna Spears, remains cancer-free after receiving gene therapy from Archon Genomics.  


Seth Hill continues to deny that he killed Clayton Soto. He is being held without bail pending trial. Hill has retained the law firm of Oglevie, Thorn & Sharpe to represent him in the murder case.

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Articles and advertisements in the newspaper often contain hints about future murder mysteries. It also includes references to people, places, and events important to Forrest City's continuing storylines.


Although each of our murder mysteries can be solved independently without any knowledge of other mysteries, there are dark secrets and hidden connections that tie all of our monthly mysteries together.



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