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Man charged with murder of former Navy Sailor in Isle of Wight County

Posted at 12:57 PM, Apr 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-28 12:57:54-04

Isle of Wight County, Va. – Officials in Isle of Wight have charged Eric Saub with the murder of Jean Marie Smith, the Navy veteran found shot to death in a wooded area nearly two weeks ago.

Saub has been charged with murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

He's been previously convicted for a number of identity fraud cases and 17 outstanding warrants.

During a press conference on Tuesday, officials say Saub contacted Smith's family over a year ago through the Internet. He came from Oregon to their home in 2014.

Saub was Smith’s roommate officials say, but they do not believe that the two were romantically involved.

Jean Marie Smith

Jean Marie Smith

NewsChannel 3 was the only station to uncover last week that Saub has been on detectives' radar since Smith was found murdered.

Smith had recently traveled to Orlando, Florida and she returned to Hampton Roads on April 15th. She was killed later that afternoon in the wooded area detectives say. She was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head. Officials say they know that the gunshot was from a small caliber bullet, but they do not have the firearm at this time.

Eric Saub

Eric Saub

Saub, 29, has been sitting in a Hampton jail accused of fraudulently opening up bank accounts and credit cards in Jean Marie’s grandmother’s name.

Detectives executed 12 search warrants in reference to this crime and Saub was confronted shortly after Smith was identified on Saturday. There was evidence that he'd been involved in other criminal activity.

One search warrant shows Saub was one of the last people to see Jean Marie alive.

Another search warrant also shows Saub deleted messages on his Facebook account and did a factory reset on his iPhone the day Jean Marie was murdered. Detectives were able to dig up a voicemail, however, through Saub’s iCloud. According to the search warrant, that message talks about Saub getting life insurance for one of his companies, that listed “Jean Smith” as the president.

Last week, Jean Marie’s mother told NewsChannel 3 she had a bad feeling about Saub the moment he moved in with Jean Marie and her grandmother.

“I just had a very bad feeling,” said mom, Mary Jane Smith. “She [Jean Marie] trusted everybody and I used to say, ‘Jean Marie, you can’t trust anyone, you can’t. There are some bad people out there and you have to watch yourself and watch who you associate with and whatnot.’”

They have not determined a motive in this case yet.

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Mom had a bad feeling, now NewsChannel 3 uncovers person of interest in murder case is a convicted con artist

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

Isle of Wight detectives investigating person of interest in Navy vet’s murder