The dismembered remains of Spc. Enrique Román Martínez washed ashore days after he was reported missing.
Spc. Enrique Román Martínez was a quiet young man. When he’d return home to Chino, California, to visit his family from Fort Bragg, where he was stationed in North Carolina, he never talked about his work. He kept that part of his life private from his family. When the 21-year-old first attempted to enlist in the army at 17, he sought out to be a ranger but wasn’t physically able to make the cut for active duty. He could, however, be of use in the human resources department.
“He wanted to help people,” Griselda Martínez said in an interview with The Americano. Since Enrique first went missing on May 22, his sister Griselda has been serving as his biggest advocate, trying to find answers to his murder.
It was on Memorial Weekend that Enrique and seven fellow soldiers took a camping trip from their base and drove four hours to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The group set up camp on an island that is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, which is only accessible by ferry. Griselda alleges that the group needed permission to be out that far from the base. On the same evening of their arrival, the group states that Enrique walked away from the campsite. His friends did not report him missing until 17 hours later.
On May 27, Griselda and her mom arrived in North Carolina to help search for Enrique. Two days later, Enrique’s partial remains washed ashore near North Carolina’s Cape Lookout National Seashore. On June 5, medical officials confirmed they were Enrique’s remains. On June 8, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) announced a reward of up to $15,000 for information on Enrique’s murder, and that is how Griselda found out that her brother had been killed.
“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.”
On July 30, the FBI announced they would be joining in the investigation into Enrique’s murder. “I haven’t heard anything new,” Griselda said. “I feel like the case is just dragging.”
Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (D-CA) spoke about Enrique’s murder on the House Floor on July 29 and demanded answers as well. Both Torres and Griselda say the men on the camping trip with Enrique are not being truthful about what happened that night.
“We don’t know what happened that night, but what we do know is it cost Enrique his life,” Rep. Torres said. “And the seven people who would seemingly have a lot of explaining to do—remarkably—had nothing to say.”
She added, “If you are the mother of one of those seven young soldiers, say something. Talk to your son or daughter and demand that they speak out. Lawyering up is not enough.”
Griselda said that when her brother first told them he wanted to join the army, they begged him not to. They understood the dangers that come with serving in the military. She said if her brother had been killed in active duty, her family would have had at least some closure. But the fact that he died among his “brotherhood” makes it all the more difficult to bear.
“It wasn’t like someone shot my brother, someone went and dismembered him,” Griselda said. “There should have been evidence everywhere, but they say they don’t have any. I don’t know what happened to my brother. I just know that seven people decided that his life was not important,” Griselda said.
Griselda can still recall vividly four years ago when Enrique was first recruited.
“When Enrique was 17, the army came to our house and asked us to let him go,” she said. “They promised us that the military is a brotherhood, that they would watch out for each other. But it’s not true.”
United States Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said in a press conference last week that they are investigating the increase in murder, sexual assault, and harassment in the army, especially at the Fort Hood base in Texas.
If anyone has information into the murder of Spc. Enrique Román Martínez, please contact Army CID special agents at 910-396-8777, the military police desk at 910-396-1179, or submit information through https://www.p3tips.com.
This story has been updated to reflect where Griselda Martínez stated Enrique had walked away from his group on the evening of his disappearance.