Mystery is about the murder of the army paratrooper who disappeared during a camping trip in North Carolina
Mystery surrounds the death of a California paratrooper who disappeared on a camping trip in North Carolina a week before part of his dismembered body washed up on a beach.
Specialist Enrique Roman-Martinez, 21, was camping with fellow paratroopers on an island in Cape Lookout National Seashore over Memorial Day weekend when his companions reported him missing.
The case was declared murder cases the following week after his partial remains were found on the coast.
Nearly two months later, Roman-Martinez’s family is still looking for answers to what happened to the 21-year-old, as several inconsistencies have emerged in the reports of the paratroopers he was with.
“Someone needs to know something,” the victim’s sister, Griselda Martinez, told the Fayetteville Observer.
Army specialist Enrique Roman-Martinez, 21, disappeared on a camping trip with fellow soldiers on an island off the coast of North Carolina on May 22. The case was charged as manslaughter a week later after part of his body washed up on the beach
The soldiers Roman-Martinez camped with said they last saw him at their campground in Cape Lookout National Seashore (pictured) on the night of May 22. The soldiers said that when they woke up the next morning, they discovered that Roman-Martinez was gone but left his cellphone, wallet, t-shirt and glasses behind
Born in Chino, California, Roman-Martinez served as a human resource specialist at the headquarters of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
His sister Martinez said she immediately knew something was wrong when she learned that her brother was missing and that he was missing his glasses – which he urgently needed to see.
The about seven other soldiers Roman-Martinez camped with told investigators that they had last seen him at midnight on May 22, and the next morning they realized he had disappeared without his cellphone, wallet, t-shirt, or glasses .
“To say he left his glasses was a huge red flag,” said Martinez. “My mom and I knew something was wrong.”
Roman-Martinez’s sister Griselda Martinez (pictured together) said her family is still looking for answers to what happened to her brother nearly two months ago
An emergency call came this week where one of the soldiers informed a coordinator that Roman-Martinez was missing at around 7:30 PM on May 23.
“When we woke up, he wasn’t there and we looked for him all day,” said the unknown caller.
“We were looking for a Park Ranger or their offices, or whatever, so we went all the way to the ferry and found we had to make emergency calls.”
But the caller’s claims were questioned after a Cape Lookout National Seashore spokesman, BG Horvat, revealed that Park Rangers had actually spoken to campers earlier that afternoon – but they said nothing about Roman-Martinez’s missing.
Horvat said the Rangers approached the group and asked them to move their vehicles because they were too close to the dunes.
“The Rangers continued after hearing that the group would meet … [and] At this point, the Rangers made no mention of missing anyone from their group, “Horvat told Army Times.
“You should ask members of the group why they didn’t report a missing person at the time.”
Born in Chino, California, Roman-Martinez was pictured last year with his mother Maria and his niece and nephew
The 911 caller also told a coordinator that their group was afraid that their friend would have “injured himself” because he had previously shown “suicidal tendencies.”
That theory was rejected once Roman-Martinez’s partial remains had been recovered and his death ruled as murder.
Roman-Martinez joined the military at age 17 and served as a human resource specialist in the 82nd Airborne Division’s Headquarters Company, 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team
Martinez also rejected the suggestion that her brother was suicidal and wondered why his friends didn’t act faster if they really believed he was.
“If you think your friend has suicidal tendencies, why would you let him run away in the middle of the night without possessions?” she asked in an interview with Army Times.
“Why not wake up first thing in the morning and panic … Besides, why wait all day until 7:30 pm to report him missing? ‘
Army officials confirmed they are still actively investigating the murder of Roman-Martinez, but declined to comment on speculation about conflicts in the story his fellow soldiers brought up.
Martinez said officials have not provided the family with much information and have been told not to speak publicly about the case.
“They asked us not to say anything that could interfere with the investigation or prevent them from arresting anyone,” she said.
Martinez said she believes there are people in the case, but investigators have not found enough evidence to file charges.
“That’s the whole problem,” she said.
The military rewarded a $ 25,000 reward for “credible information that led to the arrest and conviction of” the person who murdered Roman-Martinez, but it is unclear whether it produced any useful clues.
The map above shows the area where Roman-Martinez camped when he went missing
In the days after Roman-Martinez was reported missing, Martinez and her mother, Maria, flew to North Carolina to visit the campground where he was last seen. Martinez said she was surprised to see the island’s landscape, which is small and has few trees, making it difficult for anyone to get lost
Michael Coleman, an army veteran who served as chaplain to Roman-Martinez, said his “heart fell” when he heard that the soldier was missing.
“My first inclination was, this is not good, he wouldn’t do this,” Coleman told the Fayetteville Observer.
“I felt I knew early on that something bad had happened to him.”
Coleman said Roman-Martinez was “like a son to me.” He described how the soldier came to eat at his house and even went on a camping trip with his family.
Now Coleman gets to know Roman-Martinez’s family under tragic circumstances as he tries to assist them in the death of the 21-year-old.
He agreed that someone who was on the island with Roman-Martinez probably knows more than they say.
“I think something happened, something went wrong and things went downhill fast,” said Coleman.
“Something happened to that boy. I don’t know what it is, but the truth has to come out. As a nation, we must do good to this soldier. ‘
Roman-Martinez excelled as a soldier and earned many awards and accolades, including the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Army Parachutist Badge
Martinez said her brother joined the military at age 17 to pay for the university, and because he thought it would teach him discipline and responsibility.
“We didn’t want him to go,” she said. “He was on it. He thought it would be good for him. ‘
Roman-Martinez excelled as a soldier, earning many awards and accolades, including the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Army Parachutist Badge.
Martinez said her brother’s attitude to the military seemed to go dark in the year before his death.
“He started saying he didn’t want to be there, he just wanted to come home,” she said.
But she said he didn’t sound suicidal at all, because they often talked about their plans for the future.
In the days after Roman-Martinez was reported missing, Martinez and her mother, Maria, flew to North Carolina to visit the campground where he was last seen.
Martinez said she was surprised to see the island’s landscape, which is small and has few trees, making it difficult for anyone to get lost.
Martinez now said her family is in constant pain as they wait for an explanation of what happened to her brother.
“My mother is not sleeping,” she said. “She stays up all night thinking about what may have happened.”