Surfside Beach police arrest man wanted in 1998 Connecticut homicide

troot@thesunnews.comDecember 11, 2013 

Gerald Brian Tuttle

— A man wanted in connection with a 1998 homicide in Connecticut was arrested Tuesday in Surfside Beach, according to authorities.

Gerald Brian Tuttle, 51, was arrested without incident at a home on 14th Avenue South in Surfside Beach, Chief Rodney Keziah said.

Tuttle is charged with being a fugitive from justice and was being held Wednesday evening at J. Reuben Long Detention Center pending extradition to Connecticut. Tuttle was taken into custody following an investigation by officers in Surfside Beach and Myrtle Beach as well as investigators with the U.S. Marshall’s Task Force.

“This is another prime example of the inter-agency cooperation and participation between local agencies and the US Marshalls,” Keziah said in a release. “Anytime you can take a suspected violent crime offender and murder suspect off the streets and out of our communities it is a good day.”

Tuttle is wanted in connection with the death of 60-year-old Gertrude Ochankowski, whose body was found in 1998 in a stream in East Hampton, where police had once offered a $50,000 reward for information in the case.

East Hampton police interviewed three people they described as suspects, but no charges had been filed until Tuttle’s arrest on Tuesday.

Ochankowski was last seen alive on Jan. 11, 1998, the day her family reported her missing. The following day police found her car with the engine running and her dog inside of it parked at a Laundromat. Later that day her body was found nearby, and an autopsy showed she died from being strangled.

The Hartford Courant contributed to this story.

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