A community vigil for slain 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper Enrique Roman-Martinez, of Chino, will take place at 7 tonight (Aug. 8) at Ayala Park in Chino, following the 21-year-old’s death in May near Cape Lookout National Seashore in Harkers Island, North Carolina.
Face masks and social distancing will be required, organizers said.
Several family members and dignitaries are expected to speak.
Partial remains of Spc. Roman-Martinez, who was stationed in the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were found May 29 after washing ashore, according to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Dental records were used to identify Spc. Roman-Martinez who attended Newman Elementary, Ramona Junior High, Don Lugo and graduated from Buena Vista High in Chino in 2016.
“No one has the right to take someone’s life, my son’s life, away,” said Maria Martinez, Spc. Roman-Martinez’ mother. “That was my youngest, my baby, and I don’t have him anymore, only his memories. I demand justice for him.”
Congresswoman Norma Torres, who represents Chino, is urging the public for information on Spc. Roman-Martinez’ murder. The FBI recently announced they will assist in the investigation.
“Someone out there knows what happened,” Mrs. Torres said. “I urge the public to work with authorities to ensure justice for this hero and his family. Spc. Roman-Martinez' loved ones have my deepest sympathy as we continue to dig for answers in this case.”
Mrs. Torres added the U.S. Army has a responsibility to keep family members informed.
Family members said they learned of Spc. Roman-Martinez’ murder on a news report.
“As the mother of an Air Force veteran, I am appalled that a fellow military family had to endure the shock of a loss like this from a news report without the dignity of an official notice in advance. The claim of leaving no one behind on the battlefield rings hollow when service members are murdered without justice just miles from their base,” the congresswoman said.
Spc. Roman-Martinez was last seen May 22 at a campsite near Mile Marker 46 on South Core Banks, one of the islands at Cape Lookout National Seashore, according to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CIC).
Friends of Spc. Martinez did not report him missing until the next day, the CIC reported. An initial reward of $15,000 was announced after Spc. Martinez’ death, but has since been increased to $25,000, the CIC reported. No arrests have been announced.
Spc. Martinez’ phone and wallet were found at the campsite. He was last seen wearing blue shorts and no T-shirt, authorities said.
Spc. Martinez joined the U.S. Army as a 17-year-old in 2016. He attended airborne school in Georgia and served as a paratrooper at Fort Bragg since March 2017. Anyone with information can call the Army CIC Special Agents at (910) 396-8777.