Charles Martin Russell
Russell, approximately 2002; Nelson and Russell's pickup truck; Brian Ferry, approximately 2015
Date reported missing : 02/02/2002
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Male
DOB : 10/14/1943 (77)
Age at the time of disappearance: 58 years old
Height / Weight : 5'9, 180 pounds
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Russell's nickname is Chuck. He has the phrase "Born To Raise Hell" tattooed on his left shoulder.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Russell and his fiancee, Catherine Nelson, resided in the 7000 block of North 28th Drive in Phoenix, Arizona in early 2002. Russell told a friend that he and Nelson planned to drive to Tucson, Arizona on February 2, 2002 to look at an advertised 2002 Ducati motorcycle.
Russell and Nelson were very interested in vintAge at the time of disappearance: cars and motorcycles, and they planned to bring a cashier's check with them to make the purchase. They have never been heard from again. Their loved ones reported them as missing persons on February 4, when they both failed to report for work as scheduled. Russell was employed as a salesman at a medical supply company near Phoenix in 2002.
Nelson and Russell were traveling in their newer model red Ford SVT Lightning F-150 pickup truck with the Arizona license plate number 274-HBF at the time of their disappearances. A photo of the vehicle is posted with this case summary.
The truck was discovered abandoned in the parking lot of Santa Cruz Catholic Church in Tucson on February 7, 2002. Russell's checkbook was located inside the glove compartment. There was no indication of a struggle at the scene and no additional evidence was found inside the vehicle.
Nelson and Russell's family members told authorities that it is uncharacteristic of them to leave without warning. They left their dog unattended inside their house, as they planned to return home during the evening of February 2. Their relatives stated that Nelson and Russell would have placed their pet in a kennel if they expected to stay away for an extended period of time. They are described as having a very stable and loving relationship.
Investigators determined that only two Ducati motorcycles were delivered to Arizona prior to the couple's disappearance. They believe the advertisement was a ruse and theorized Nelson and Russell may have been lured to Tucson for the purposes of robbery. No witnesses have come forward to state that the couple was seen in Tucson on February 2.
In January 2015, Brian Ferry was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in Russell and Nelson's disappearances. A photo of Ferry is posted with this case summary. He has a prior criminal record; he served three and a half years for fraud and auto theft. Authorities stated forensic evidence had helped lead to an arrest.
Ferry was tried for the murders in early 2018, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial. He was tried a second time later that year and convicted of the murders in May 2018. In June, he was found dead in his cell; his death was ruled a suicide.
Foul play is suspected in Nelson and Russell's disappearances due to the circumstances involved.
Other information and links : ncy
Phoenix Police Department
Tucson Police Department
September 2021 updates and sources
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe.
By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends.
Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
Maricopa County Assessor's Office
The Arizona Republic
Interactive Missing Person Search Map