Stolen coin collection believed to be motive in south side murder

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ronald Ralston retired from Allison Transmission, once owned a Beech Grove glass shop, lived in a big house with a manicured lawn in Murphy’s Landing on the south side and was found dead just inside the door to that home by his housekeeper on Jan. 26.

IMPD homicide detectives think the 75-year-old man had been there for several days before his body was discovered and his valuable coin collection was missing.

“He had a coin collection, stamp collections and probably several safes that were full of other items that seemed to be untouched,” said Detective Chuck Benner. “There’s evidence at the scene that there were probably coins taken from the scene so we’re trying to figure out if any of those coins have been attempted to circulate in the city.”

Benner said it looked like Ralston voluntarily let his visitor or visitors in the house and they knew exactly what they were looking for displaying a familiarity with the layout.

“Based upon some of the people he was in contact with, he may have inadvertently let people know that he had things in the residence that would be worth stealing.”

Ralston’s metallic blue Hummer was found parked elsewhere in the neighborhood and Benner wants to know if anyone saw that vehicle being driven in the vicinity of Southport and Bluff roads the weekend the killing occurred.

There was also a Ford Mustang that Ralston bought for a woman that was tracked down but that driver is not a suspect at this time.

Benner said there was a third vehicle, a convertible, that was reported at the widower’s house on occasion in the months before his death and the detective would like to know who was driving it.

IMPD’s request for public help is indicative of the department’s latest attempts to proactively reach out to the community to solve open murders.

“Sometimes as cases progress and as more cases come in, people forget about some of the ones the detectives are working on, so we’re really trying to do a better job of getting some of these older back out in the public eye,” said Commander Chris Bailey. “We as an entire police department have to do a better job of establishing relationships within the community because those are the folks that in some of our areas that are hardest hit know the information. In order for them to be comfortable sharing that there has to be a relationship there.”

IMPD was recently visited by outside consultants asked to weigh in on the department’s homicide investigation process and outreach to the community.

March is Community Resources Month within IMPD.

“This month we have a community conversation set up that with our homicide detectives and everyone’s that involved in the homicide investigation process,” said Bailey. “We had a couple of those last year. Families of homicide victims are encouraged to show up to that and ask questions of all of the players of that are involved in investigating a homicide from the detective all the to the coroner’s office.”

If you have information regarding the murder of Ronald Ralston, the coins that were stolen, the blue Hummer that was driven from his house, or the convertible that often visited, call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.