Documents: Person of interest was the last to see murdered sailor alive

Posted at 4:08 PM, Apr 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-24 10:52:49-04

Hampton, Va. - While investigating the murder of a 26-year-old former Navy sailor Jean Marie Smith, whose body was found in Isle of Wight County last Friday, investigators have discovered a web of crimes linked to the man she was living with.

That man, Smith's roommate, 29-year-old Eric Saub, has also been named a person of interest in the investigation into her murder.

Court documents say Saub had admitted to police that he was one of the last people to see Jean Marie alive. Police also say Saub was evasive and stated he couldn't remember his exact whereabouts or anyone he may have spoken to during the estimated time of Jean Marie's death.

The court documents also note that Saub showed an investigator portions of text messages during the interview process. The investigator noticed that all text messages prior to April 17th had been deleted.

It is believed that Jean Marie was killed on the night of April 16th or early on the 17th.

Police also searched electronic data on Saub's cell phones, Facebook, iCloud and computers. According to the search, a forensic scrub of an iPhone belonging to Saub revealed that hours after the body of Jean Marie was discovered, Saub backed up numerous phone files to his MacBook Air, then deleted all files from his phone before then selecting certain files and contacts to re-add to the phone from the laptop.

Another search warrant shows Saub did a factory reset on his iPhone the day Jean Marie was murdered. However, police were still able to recover a voicemail which talks about Saub getting life insurance for his company. The search warrant says Saub had created a business and used "Jean Smith" as the president of the company.

During the execution of the search warrant at the home where Saub lived with Jean Marie and her grandmother Mary Hawalka, court documents show Hampton Police found three separate credit card statements from three different banks and a credit report in Saub's room. All of them were in the name of Mary Halwaka.

Halwaka said she had no idea she'd been ripped off until the detectives made the discovery.

"News like this, who expects this kind of news? This is something you see on TV, something you hear about. This doesn't happen to you. This doesn't happen to you," she says.

She said she couldn't believe she was betrayed by the man she met and trusted through her granddaughter.

"She was too open with everybody. She was very open. She trusted people too much," Halwaka said of her granddaughter.

Court documents also show police found several pieces of ammunition in Saub's bedroom. And since he's a convicted felon, he was arrested.

As of right now, Saub has been charged with identity theft, forgery, using false statements to obtain credit, and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

Though he is a person of interest, he has not been charged with murder.

Saub had his first appearance in court on Wednesday. He's being held in the Hampton City Jail without bond.

They are asking that anyone who may have seen Jean Marie in the area of Isle of Wight on Thursday, April 16 to Take Action Against Crime and call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

The Smith family has set up a funeral fund for Jean Marie.