Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dad murders 6-month-old daughter, her mother, three others; also suspected of killing 2-year-old chid in October 2014 (Modesto, California)

According to the relatives, the killer dad was practically a saint. Seriously?

This is some serious enabling and excuse-making.

Dad is identified as MARTIN "MARTY" MARTINEZ.


Modesto child-death investigation was on verge of arrest when suspect massacred family

Martin "Marty" Martinez, 30, is a suspect in the slayings of five people, including three children, in Modesto on July 18, 2015. He was captured in San Jose the next day.

By Robert Salonga, Joe Rodriguez and Kevin Valine
Mercury News and Modesto Bee
Posted: 07/20/15, 7:42 PM PDT | Updated: 2 hrs ago

MODESTO -- Late last week, police here were on the verge of making an arrest in one of the most unforgivable crimes: the murder of a 2-year-old child.

But in the tiny window between when they had hard evidence and when they could obtain a warrant to take their suspect into custody, Martin "Marty" Martinez purportedly killed five people, including three more children.

That stunning revelation Monday intensified a tragedy that began on a quiet Modesto street and led to San Jose, where Martinez was arrested early Sunday. Making matters worse were the newly released identities of the dead: Martinez's girlfriend, the 6-month-old daughter they had together, her 6-year-old daughter, Martinez's own mother and his 5-year-old niece.

Police believe that after the killings of Amanda Crews, 38, and the others, Martinez drove away in his red Lincoln Navigator, heading to East San Jose where he has extended family.

When police caught up with him at 1 a.m. the next morning, he was walking to his car after going to a movie with his father at a local mall. He was arrested without a fight.

Martinez, 30, is being held without bail in a Santa Clara County jail, awaiting transfer to Stanislaus County. Modesto police announced Monday that he will be charged in the October death of 2-year-old Christopher Ripley, Crews' third child, who died two days after being rushed to a hospital with head injuries Martinez told authorities happened when the two were wrestling.

Martinez has not yet been charged in the deaths of Crews, a Stanislaus County physician, her daughters, Elizabeth Ripley, 6, and 6-month-old Rachael Martinez; Martinez's mother, Anna Brown Romero, 57; and Martinez's 5-year-old niece, whose name was not immediately released.

Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll said Martinez, Crews, Elizabeth and Christopher were living together in a Pasadena Lane home in October and that Martinez was alone with Christopher when the boy was injured.

Carroll said that while detectives and prosecutors pursue that case against Martinez they also will build a case against him in the weekend deaths. Martinez is the only suspect in those homicides, he said.

Police have not disclosed how the victims died or established a motive. Carroll said it was unlikely Martinez knew about a neuropathologist's findings, given to police Thursday, that Christopher died from blunt-force trauma and was a homicide victim and that they were closing in on him as a suspect. Carroll said detectives were pursuing a warrant to arrest Martinez in that case. It was issued after Saturday's killings, when police feared Martinez would flee.

Martinez and Crews lived with the children at the Nob Hill Court home until a couple of months ago when he had to move out because of a protective order issued by Children Protective Service regarding Christopher's death, Carroll said. He also said Crews was supportive of Martinez and there were no domestic violence calls to the house. Martinez's mother was apparently living at the home after her son moved out.

There was "no indication leading up to that time that any of this would occur," Carroll said Monday at a news conference when reporters asked why Martinez hadn't been arrested before Saturday.

On the sidewalk in front of the Martinez family home in East San Jose, the suspect's cousin, Gina Martinez, told news reporters that Martin Martinez took his father, Jesus, to the movies without saying anything out of the ordinary.

"My uncle didn't know anything that had happened," she said. "He didn't tell him anything. Everything was just normal."

Gina Martinez said relatives were completely "shocked" by the allegations.

"We have no idea if he did it," Gina Martinez, 44, said. "We don't know. He's innocent until proven guilty. ... I just want to see him, ask him what's going on. What's happening here?"

Martin Martinez has no apparent criminal record in Santa Clara County, according to court records, and neighbors of the Lucerne Way home said Martinez was not a regular presence there.

His cousin said he lived in San Jose until he was 5 or 6, when his father moved the family away. At some point, she said, Martinez's brother moved with their father to Idaho, where the brother later died. Gina Martinez said the death affected Martinez greatly, but she declined to name the brother or say how he died.

"It affected all of us," she said.

Older by 14 years, Gina Martinez said she didn't know her cousin well enough to talk about his parents' divorce. But she said he loved Crews and their baby daughter.

"She's a baby. She's innocent. Whoever did this. We don't know yet," she said. "He loved his family, loved his family. He was a generous, loving person."

A makeshift memorial continues to grow in front of the Nob Hill Court home in east Modesto, where the bodies were found about 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Modesto police officers were called to Crews' home for a welfare check after she and her daughter didn't show up to a planned meeting with friends.

Mercury News staff writers Joe Rodriguez and Mark Gomez contributed to this report.