The body of Melinda Shinn was found Nov. 8 in this mobile home on the north side of Rockford, shown here on the day after the murder. (Times Bulletin file photo/Ed Gebert)
The body of Melinda Shinn was found Nov. 8 in this mobile home on the north side of Rockford, shown here on the day after the murder. (Times Bulletin file photo/Ed Gebert)

BY ED GEBERT

Times Bulletin Editor

egebert@timesbulletin.com

CELINA - The next step in the murder case involving Rockford resident Melinda Shinn will happen Monday afternoon in Celina. Suspect Daniel Charles Martin, 40, will make an initial appearance in Mercer County Court of Common Pleas.

The charge against Martin is murder with firearms specifications. No plea is expected from Martin during the court appearance.

The 26-year-old Shinn was found shot to death on the morning of Nov. 8 in the Rockford house trailer she shared with Martin. By the time police arrived at the scene, there was no sign of Martin and his vehicle was gone also. That 1998 red Ford Explorer was later found abandoned in Fort Wayne.Martin himself was eventually located by authorities in Fort Wayne as well. He was apprehended on Jan. 2 after nearly two months in hiding. He had been followed by investigators for several days before his arrest.

A possible motive has not officially been offered, but Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey has noted that the couple had been arguing the night before Shinn's body was found. Text messages were received by family members indicating an argument was ongoing that night.

Grey also revealed that Shinn's nine-year-old son had been present in the mobile home at the time of the shooting. He was not injured.

The investigation was referred to the Mercer County Sheriff's Office at the request of Rockford Police Chief Paul May. According to May, the shooting is the first such case withing the Village of Rockford.