Fourth person arrested in burning of body found in St. Pete alley

A fourth suspect has been arrested in connection with the burning of a body in a St. Petersburg alley in August.

Martellish Hale, 43, was arrested on one count of abuse of a dead body and other charges after fleeing from Pinellas deputies Thursday, according to arrest reports.

Police started investigating in August after finding the body of Heather Elizabeth Olmstead, 31, burned in an alleyway.

Officers found a cell phone linked to Hale at the scene, according to an arrest report. Surveillance footage showed him stopping at a house where Jerrish Stephens placed a gas can in the back of Hale’s truck, investigators wrote. Hale’s truck was also spotted in surveillance footage following another car linked to the crime on Fairfield Avenue S about two minutes before the fire was set.

Cree Worley, 30, and her mother, 65-year-old Julie Heltman Curran, were also arrested in connection with the incident, along with the 42-year-old Stephens.

Stephens was additionally arrested on a murder charge out of Okaloosa County last December.

On Thursday, deputies attempted to arrest Hale on outstanding warrants and blocked the back of his car after he pulled into a parking space, according to an arrest report. Hale began ramming the deputies’ vehicles with his truck, they said, and then fled the scene, driving around an apartment building near a retention pond.

Hale eventually drove into the retention pond and unsuccessfully tried to drive back out, according to the report. He was arrested when he exited his truck. Deputies said they found controlled substances that tested positive for methamphetamine, crack cocaine and fentanyl in his possession, as well as a handgun.

In total, Hale faces up to 25 charges, including drug offenses, outstanding warrants and fleeing and eluding.