Answers sought after U.S. Army paratrooper from Chino killed in North Carolina; $25,000 reward offered

Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez, of Chino

(Photo courtesy U.S. Army)

Family and friends of an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper from Chino are seeking answers after partial remains of the 21-year-old were found May 29 near Cape Lookout National Seashore in Harkers Island, North Carolina, near where he is stationed in the U.S. Army in Fort Bragg.

Dental records were used to identify Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez – who attended Newman Elementary, Ramona Junior High, Don Lugo and graduated from Buena Vista High in Chino in 2016 –, who 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.

Friends of Spc. Martinez did not report him missing until the next day, the CIC reported.

“This was my baby brother and I wish I could’ve done more to protect him,” Griselda Martinez, Spc. Martinez’s sister, posted this morning on Facebook. “My brother was brutally murdered Memorial Day weekend and were hoping we can find someone who knows what happened that can speak up. My brother was such a kind-hearted and loveable person. He didn’t deserve this.”

An initial reward of $15,000 was announced after Spc. Martinez’ death, but has since been increased to $25,000, the CIC reported.

“The remains washed up on Shackelford Banks Island, part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, an area where the prevailing tides have unfortunately washed ashore remains in years past,” the CIC stated.

Spc. Martinez’ phone and wallet were found at the campsite. He was last seen wearing blue shorts and no T-shirt, authorities said.

No additional information on the investigation is being released to protect the integrity of the investigation, they added.

Spc. Martinez joined the U.S. Army as a 17-year-old in 2016.

He attended airborne school in Georgia and has served as a paratrooper in Fort Bragg since March 2017.

Anyone with information can call the Army CID Special Agents at (910) 396-8777; the Military Police Desk at (910) 396-1179; or submit information at https://www.p3tips.com.

Callers can wish to remain anonymous.

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