The Latino soldier went camping with a group from his base at Fort Bragg over Memorial Day weekend and was found dead a week later.
The FBI announced on Thursday that, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, it would be joining the investigation into the death Spc. Enrique Román Martínez, a 21-year-old Mexican-American soldier who was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
In late May, his remains washed up on shore just days after he was reported missing. The coroner ruled his death a homicide. Román Martínez was a human resource specialist assigned to Headquarters Company, 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bragg.
A Timeline of the Events
May 22: Román Martínez went camping with friends over Memorial Day weekend. They drove four hours from Fort Bragg to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a collection of barrier islands off the eastern coast of the state. The paratroopers went to an island that is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore and only accessible by ferry.
In an interview with The Americano, Roman Martínez’s older sister, Griselda Martínez, said she was confused about how the group made it to the Outer Banks in the first place, since the unit needed permission to leave the base and go that far.
The group claims that went they went to bed at midnight, after arriving at their campsite earlier that day, was when they last saw Román Martinez .
May 23: The following day, the group said Román Martínez was gone. According to ArmyTimes, the group ran into U.S. Park Rangers but did not report their friend as missing.
The publication reports that the Rangers asked the group to move their car because it was “parked too close to sand dunes.”
“The Rangers moved on after hearing the group would comply [and] did not make mention to the Rangers at this point that anyone was missing from their group,” Cape Lookout National Seashore spokesman B.G. Horvat told the publication. “You would have to ask members of the group why they didn’t report a missing person then.”
At 7:30 p.m., an unidentified person called 911.
“When we woke up, he was not here and we’ve been looking for him all day,” the caller said. “We were trying to find a Park Ranger or their offices, or anything, and so we went all the way to the ferry and found that we needed to dial 911.”
May 27: Román Martínez’s family arrived in North Carolina to help out with the search.
May 29: The partial remains of Román Martínez washed ashore near North Carolina’s Cape Lookout National Seashore.
June 5: Medical officials confirmed to the family that the remains found belong to Román Martínez.
June 8: The family read online that the coroner ruled his death a homicide.
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) offered a reward of up to $15,000 for information on the murder of Román Martínez.
“I was able to find the medical examiners office and ask them what made it a homicide, because I had asked the army investigator at the time and he couldn’t tell me,” Griselda said. “They said it’s nothing the ocean could’ve done, only a person with a weapon.”
July 30: The CID increased the reward to $25,000 for information regarding the murder of Román Martínez.
The FBI announced they will be assisting in the investigation.
The family has yet to hold a funeral for Román Martínez, as officials still have his remains in their possession.
This is a developing story.