CROWN POINT, Ind. -- An Alsip man charged with murder, robbery and criminal confinement in the March 28 homicide of a St. John, Ind., woman appeared in court Friday with no attorney.

Ralph Perez Martinez, 57, told Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell he intends to hire an attorney but hasn’t been able to make contact with his family.

Boswell appointed the public defender’s office to assist Martinez in hiring private counsel. His next court date is May 31.

Martinez is charged with murder in the shooting death of Mary Austgen, who authorities said was kidnapped from the family business at 801 E. Main St., Griffith, Ind., on March 28. She was found dead with a gunshot wound to the abdomen in her SUV in the Majestic Star Casino parking garage in Gary the following day.

Martinez had been a customer of the Austgen’s business and had rented units from the company.

He has pleaded not guilty.