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Exclusive surveillance footage shows suspect leaving Dr. Marshall’s home after murder

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PEORIA (HOI) -- Robert Ely was arrested Wednesday for the murder of Dr. William Marshall, a surgeon and renowned art collector.

A white flatbed truck with distinctive writing on the sides and no plates. Peoria Police and the Peoria County State's Attorney said this surveillance footage would prove key to finding their suspect.

The photos show a man driving away, along with what police said was stolen artwork, from Dr. Marshall's home.

"We tracked down the vehicle, took possession of the vehicle," said Capt. Brad Dixon with the Peoria Police Department.

In that vehicle, police said they found the murder weapon, a knife with Dr. Marshall's blood on it. Later leading them to a storage unit with artwork inside, linked to Robert Ely.

"This really was a criminal enterprise," Peoria County State's Attorney, Jodi Hoos.

Hoos said Robert Ely was a part of that traveling criminal enterprise, victimizing several others in Central Illinois.

Although, she said other burglaries by the group did not typically result in murder. Evidence shoed Dr. Marshall fought back, which she believes led to his death

"There were defensive wounds on both hands and a right arm, which is consistent if you're struggling with somebody," said Hoos.

The prosecutor said the group targets elderly people, which they view as the most vulnerable and easiest to take advantage of.

"He pretends to know the people like when I did you siding last time or when I painted your house last year. Where he convinces them that they already know him and he's able to gain entry," said Hoos.

Investigators still are not sure why Ely chose the retired surgeon and art collector as his victim.

"But Dr. Marshall fits the profile of other victims and cases throughout Illinois that we believe Robert Ely did," said Hoos.

In the High Point neighborhood, where Marshall lived, neighbors shared the news amongst each other.

"I don't think this is ever something we're going to look at and say, oh now we feel better about it, because Dr. Marshalls not here," said neighbor, Mike Murphy.

Dixon said there is still more work to do in this case.

"I don't think this case is over. We are actively looking for other victims of this type of crime," Dixon.

Hoos said Ely should be extradited to Peoria next week and is likely to face additional charges.

Paige Blanzy

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