‘Dateline: Secrets From the Grave’ is an intriguing yet horrifying episode that chronicles how Margaret Purk, a 24-year-old woman, was brutally slain in her own home and nobody even knew about it for decades. The authorities knew she had passed away, and they thought that they knew what had happened, so they ruled her death as a suicide. But that was not the case, at all. This episode lays down every little detail of her death and the case that followed to paint the picture of how it was solved more than three decades later, and that too because of arson. Curious to know what we mean? Read on to find out!
How Did Margaret Purk Die?
It was 1985, and life seemed to be going really well for Margaret Anne Purk – she, at the age of just 24, was married, had a good home, and was expecting her first child with her husband. But then, on March 19, it was all taken away from, and unfortunately, it wasn’t in the blink of an eye. Nine-months pregnant at the time, that day, in her home, in the Timber Top apartment complex, in Arkon, Ohio, she was found barely alive. And, it was her husband, Scott Purk, who called the emergency services. He told the medical personnel that he had found his wife hanging from a rope inside their apartment and had tried CPR before they arrived.
Margaret was immediately rushed to the hospital, where paramedics were hopeful about saving her life, as well as the baby’s, as they could still feel it kicking inside of her. However, despite their best efforts, they both passed away, and, later on, her death was officially ruled a suicide. Scott recounted his version of the events to the authorities and repeatedly told them how he had found her and tried to save her. So, the decision wasn’t even questioned. Therefore, in the official report, it is said that although she died of strangulation, it was self-inflicted. It was years later, in 2011, that a forensic pathologist determined it to be a homicide.
Who Killed Margaret Purk?
Margaret Purk’s husband, Scott, the one who made authorities believe that his wife had died of suicide, was the one who took her life. It was in 2009, 24-years later, that he even became a suspect for it, and it was only because of his own doings. When authorities responded to a fire in his Uniondale Road, Stow, Ohio, home in March of that year, they had all but forgotten of his first wife’s suicide. But, because he casually mentioned her death to a police officer even as his own home was burning down, it drew suspicion. He was also a suspect in this arson, but was arrested only a year later, after he started a fire in a nearby Berger Avenue duplex as well. Investigations showed that he had burned his home to collect insurance money.
With his arrest, red-flags started going up everywhere, and, in 2011, it convinced the Akron Police Department to ask the Summit County Medical Examiner to look into Margaret Purk’s death and body all over again. After viewing the original photos of the scene of the “suicide” and Margaret’s body, a forensic pathologist immediately noticed that the marks on her neck were inconsistent with that of a hanging. Furthermore, when her body was exhumed, her injuries showed that the bruising on her neck went straight back, instead of angling upwards, as it should have if she had hung herself. And so, Scott Purk was looked into further, revealing his extensive criminal history, which included at least 10 former arrests for burglaries.
With that, and the evidence that was gained during the re-investigation, Scott Purk was charged with Margret Purk’s murder. During the 2015 murder trial, further details of this case were laid bare. It was revealed that Scott had killed Margaret but putting his knee against her back, to hold her in place, and then yanking the belt he had wrapped around her neck until she was almost dead. Then, he put a rope around her chest to drag her to the overhang, where the authorities saw her, and where he claimed that she had hung herself. Moreover, when Scott was asked how he made the different marks on her body, he said that he took the help of one of her bras. In the end, Scott Purk was found guilty of all the charges against him.
Read More: Where Is Scott Purk Now?