Local News

Autopsy: Johnston Couple Shot Before Being Cut Up, Burned

Posted July 25, 2007 12:00 a.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2007 2:30 p.m. EDT

— Final autopsy reports released this week said a man and a woman whose remains were found beneath a Johnston County farmhouse had each been shot in the head before their bodies were dismembered and burned.

The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office received multiple bags and containers, including a freezer, 32-gallon trash can and large oil drum, of dirt, clothing and co-mingled fragmented human remains identified through DNA testing as those of Robin Leigh Clark and Ceasar Ruvalcava Ortiz.

Both died of gunshot wounds, according to the autopsy reports. Clark, 17 at the time of her death, had an entrance gunshot wound to the head. Ortiz, 23, suffered from multiple gunshot wounds – one to the left parietal skull and the other to the hand.

Johnston County sheriff’s authorities discovered the bodies in February 2006 beneath a farmhouse at 1294 Lizzie Mill Road in Selma and in a freezer beneath a shed on the property.

The occupants of that residence, Robert B. Pollard and his wife, Cecilia Louise Pollard, were later arrested.

Robert Pollard pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder and will serve eight to 10 years in prison; Cecilia Pollard pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and will serve five to seven years.

Clark was related to the Pollards, and Ortiz was her boyfriend. The two had been staying with the Pollards in 1997 before they were reported missing.

Assistant District Attorney Ann Kirby said the sentences were the best the state could get based on the available evidence.

She said Robert Pollard had a viable claim of self-defense when he killed Ortiz. Louise Pollard claimed that Clark committed suicide.

“We didn't have enough (physical evidence)” she said. “What was done to the bodies, as gruesome as it may be after the deaths, does not come into play.”

The autopsies ruled each death a homicide.