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Apartment manager: Resident’s death likely from natural causes

Published 4:45pm Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Neighbors of a 59-year-old man whose body was found in an apartment at Sizemore Creek Commons said they believe he died of natural causes, even though the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t yet released a cause of death.

The body of Willie Martin was found Monday afternoon in apartment 512, said Julie Bush, property manager of the apartment complex. Although a cause of death hasn’t been released, she believes Martin died of natural causes.

“I really, really feel, from what I’ve heard, that it was natural causes,” Bush, who lives on site, said Wednesday afternoon.

“Investigators told me that they were treating it like a homicide until that can be ruled out. I don’t want residents to worry.”

Bush said Martin had eight siblings total and at least one sister who lived in Mobile. She said he also had some cousins that live in Atmore.

Jeremy Hollinger, a next-door neighbor of Martin, said he doesn’t think it’s a homicide.

“There was no commotion and nothing out of the ordinary,” he said.

Hollinger said he and his wife, Tonya, got concerned for the man they referred to as “Mr. Willie,” after not hearing anything from him in about three days. He said that is when he called Bush.

Hollinger said Martin was a good neighbor.

“He kept our breezeway cleaned out,” he said.

Bush said she also appreciated having Martin around. She said he would come in just about every afternoon, sit with her and drink coffee.

“He was a pleasant gentleman,” she said. “I can’t say enough about him. I will miss him peeping around the corner into my office and asking ‘you got my coffee ready yet?’”

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