Susan Roark was last seen alive on January 30, 1988, in Cleveland, Tennessee, in the presence of Marshall Lee Gore. Gore was waiting at a convenience store for a friend to pick him up and travel to Florida. Gore struck up a conversation with Roark and the two left in Roark’s black Ford Mustang.
Gore arrived in Tampa on January 31, 1988, driving a black Ford Mustang. He convinced a friend to help him pawn several items that were later determined to have belonged to Roark. Gore then drove to Miami, where he abandoned Roark's car after it was involved in a two-car accident. Gore's fingerprint and a Miami police traffic ticket, issued to Gore, were found in the car.
Lisa Ingram testified that she was riding in a car with Gore on February 19, 1988 when she saw a woman's purse in the back seat. According to Ingram, Gore told her that the purse belonged to "a girl that he had killed last night."