CID ups reward on information in case of mysteriously murdered paratrooper

| August 3, 2021

SPC Enrique Roman-Martinez

I thought we’d talked about the case of Specialist Enrique Roman-Martinez, an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper who died while on a camping trip with fellow soldiers. For the life of me, I can’t find any previous posts on it. The Reader’s Digest version is that the other soldiers reported him missing at 1930 hours on May 23, 2020, saying they last saw him at 0000 hours the night before. They claimed they’d been looking for him all day and had been trying to find a park ranger to report him missing. All normal, right? Not so fast.

It turns out that during the day, while they were looking for a missing battle buddy and trying to report him to a park ranger, they encountered a park ranger. The soldiers had parked their vehicles on one of the park’s precious sand dunes and were instructed to move it. They complied and the ranger moved on with his day.

Since then a year has passed and no leads have materialized, despite extensive work they claim. CID has upped the reward to $50k, the highest award they’ve had in more than a decade.

Army Times reports;

For more than a year, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, or CID, has been unable to find a concrete lead in the May 2020 homicide of Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez.

Now, CID is offering up to $50,000 for credible information concerning the death of the 21-year-old Fort Bragg paratrooper, who went missing late at night on May 22, 2020, while camping with fellow soldiers near Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina.

“This is the first one to hit this level in more than 10 years,” CID spokesman Jeffrey Castro said of the large sum of money being offered for information.

The increased reward follows an extensive investigation that does not appear to have generated any tangible leads. The sister of Roman-Martinez said the case still “doesn’t make sense,” and she remains suspicious of the soldiers with whom her brother camped that weekend.

“Until they let me speak to these individuals I will never be convinced it wasn’t them,” she said.

A specialized task force was created to investigate Roman-Martinez’s death, comprising CID special agents, FBI personnel and the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. The task force executed 100 warrants and subpoenas and 400 interviews across North Carolina, Michigan, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado and California, according to a CID statement.

“I have been a criminal investigator for more than 40 years and have worked hundreds of death investigations,” CID Special Agent Steve Chancellor, who is spearheading the investigation, said in the statement. “This tragic death is a real mystery on what exactly happened.”

So far, the task force has not recovered a single piece of physical, forensic or testimonial evidence linking anyone to the death of Roman-Martinez, according to Chancellor. That includes 130 items of physical evidence and five terabytes of digital data.

“All logical theories or suspicions that were developed to date have been investigated and either discounted or disproven,” Chancellor said. “We have and are still looking at all possibilities, but need the public’s help.”

While Roman-Martinez’s death is ruled a homicide, according to Chancellor, it doesn’t necessarily mean it was a murder.

“That means that the death could have been intentional or it could have been unintentional — for example in this case, someone running over someone with a boat while the person was in the water,” Chancellor said.

The severed head of Roman-Martinez washed up near Cape Lookout National Seashore on May 29, 2020, a week after he had gone missing during a camping trip with seven fellow soldiers.

Roman-Martinez’s older sister, Griselda Martinez, has in previous interviews with Army Times said she worries that those soldiers haven’t been completely truthful.

“I still feel that way,” Griselda Martinez said again on Monday. “They had a whole day to cover anything up. They also had the weather conditions on their side.”

Much more at the source. I can sympathize with Ms Martinez and see why she feels that way. Here’s hoping they find something on this sooner than later so he can rest in peace.

Category: Army, Crime

Comments (22)

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  1. KoB says:

    “…severed head…” Yep, I gotta go with this Soldier’s Sister on this. One or more of them troops gots some ‘splaining to do. Don’t think a hungry shark would cut someone’s head off before snacking on them.

  2. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    I’ve never known a group of seven that was able to maintain total secrecy….

    Consequently if one of them knows something and is not guilty of anything beyond obstruction 50k might be enough to get that one to speak up a bit….

    If it doesn’t that is either one really loyal group of seven or they did not in fact have anything to do with what happened…

  3. OWB says:

    Are there ANY explanations for this don’t make the soldiers look complicit? They are obviously guilty of something which may or may not have anything to do with this man’s death.

    Sounds like anything from a drug deal gone bad to a gang initiation. And a lot of other things, none of which are good.

    • CWORet says:

      For sure looks fishy. But like VOV put it, seven relatively young soldiers getting grilled by CID and the FBI and no one cracks? That just seems unlikely. However, your hypothesis certainly is plausible, and could explain why/how everybody could keep their story straight.

      • Hack Stone says:

        All the investigators need to do is tell these seven Soldiers that one of them is going to roll over and cop a plea, and the other six are going to be ass out when he does, so do you want to be the guy that cooperates and gets six years, or one of the six that gets twenty plus in the hoosegow? Deal or no deal?

    • Mason says:

      The thought of a Mali-style hazing incident gone wrong crossed my mind as well.

  4. Slow Joe says:

    Those 7 guys will start PCSing soon, and that’s when the singing will begin.

    Unless the investigation keeps them from PCSing, in which case they will continue to close ranks and keep quite of whatever happened.

    My money is on accidental death due to some stupid initiation. But they can just as easily be innocent. Not enough information.

  5. ninja says:

    Warning: Graphic Content.

    You Be The Judge.

    “It Was Such A Brutal Crime: Autopsy Report Shows 82nd Soldier Was Decapitated”

    https://amp.fayobserver.com/amp/3812392001

    “A Fort Bragg paratrooper who was murdered in May had been decapitated, according to an autopsy report.”

    “SPC Enrique Roman-Martinez, 21, was killed in May while he was camping with fellow soldiers on an island at Cape Lookout National Seashore. He was from Chino, California, and was a human resource specialist in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.”

    “The autopsy report, which is from the Division of Forensic Pathology at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, lists the cause of death as “homicide by undetermined means.” It was digitally signed by Dr. Randall K. Falls Jr. on Nov. 4.”

    “The autopsy examined a severed head, as neither the torso nor any extremities were available, according to the report. It showed evidence of multiple chop injuries, a broken jaw, cuts and a fractured cervical spine.”

    “While decapitation is, in and of itself, universally fatal, the remainder of the body in this case was not available for examination, and therefore potential causes of death involving the torso and extremities cannot be excluded,” the report said.”

    “Roman-Martinez’s sister, Griselda Martinez, said she and other members of his family first saw the autopsy report Thursday. She said it was difficult to read some of the details, including that her brother’s eyes were missing and his hair had been pulled out.”

    • Slow Joe says:

      They killed their S1 clerk?

    • CWORet says:

      Thanks, ninja, that had a lot more information. Head in the water for a week could explain the eyes and hair – like crabs/fish – but “multiple chop injuries, a broken jaw, cuts and a fractured cervical spine” not so much.

      Slow Joe, maybe he messed up their pay?

    • Anonymous says:

      Somebody had too much to drink and got pissed off about him losing their packet?

  6. MI Ranger says:

    If they don’t know how the head was severed from the body why did CID Special Agent Steve Chancellor say
    “…for example in this case, someone running over someone with a boat while the person was in the water,” Chancellor said.

    Did the Soldiers have a boat with them? They said they were up until midnight, did they sleep on the beach? Did SPC Martinez go for an early morning swim and get run over by a fisherman?

    Yeah, the Soldier’s story sounds a little fishy, especially with the whole poked in it by the Park Ranger.

  7. SFC D says:

    We had a fun little incident at Huachuca a few years back. A group of trainees went camping at Parker Lake on a long weekend. One morning they find one of their buddies clothes neatly folded on the shore, he’s nowhere to be found. They immediately report the incident, a search ensues, the lake is dragged multiple times, no body. He’s just gone. Intel school holds a memorial service. Fast forward about 8 months. The dearly departed’s sister calls his unit, says he’s alive and well, living in Salt Lake City with his dad, dad has no idea he’s AWOL. He gets shipped back, the schoolhouse has to keep this fuckstick under guard for his own protection while he’s getting booted because the entire Intel school wants to beat his ass.

  8. Ex-PH2 says:

    Cape Lookout National Seashore is mostly low dunes with a lot of grasses, includes a lighthouse and parking and camping facilities.

    https://www.nps.gov/calo/learn/photosmultimedia/index.htm

    There is not enough information to form a real opinion, but I hope this comes to a conclusion. Somebody did something to that soldier, period.

  9. ChipNASA says:

    I’m going to go with “Death by misadventure”.
    Was a boat involved?
    I’m going to think, maybe a rental, inexperienced boaters, alcohol involved and maybe someone fell and then got run over?
    Yeah, of *course* the kinda don’t have any idea what happened except they were fucking around on the water and then something happened and someone fell and someone’s head got accidentally severed and they all bailed but they didn’t do it on purpose but they also didn’t understand their friend got cut into two pieces (like they actually didn’t find the body or head) but they do understand that they don’t remember hearing a splash and their friend disappearing.
    Tah Dah?? (I’m rambling but you get it)
    Well they’re not guilty, sort of kinda ish..?
    Just my 2 cents. I don’t know if it’s worth $50,000 or not.
    (Disclaimer: I’m not a rocket scientist nor CID agent and I’ve never claimed to be one or play one on the Tee Vee )

  10. Polygraps are not recognized in a court of law but I’m suprised that no one in the group was willing to take one or maybe they don’t know what a polygraph test is. I had to take one before being hired on my last 37 year job. If I refused to take it, no job.

  11. timactual says:

    I don’t believe *any* of it. Young soldiers spending their vacation time *camping*?!? No doubt they also went hiking every day. And ate canned food. Yeah, everybody needs a break from the same old routine.