Family of slain paratrooper pleads for answers during vigil in Chino

Local news

The family of a U.S. Army paratrooper from Chino who was found dead near Fort Bragg in North Carolina called for answers in his sudden death during an emotional vigil Saturday.

Loved ones gathered at Ruben S. Ayala Park in Chino, where the mother of 21-year-old Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez broke down in tears as she pleaded for justice. Her son’s death was ruled a homicide.

The young paratrooper disappeared over Memorial Day weekend while camping at South Core Banks, an island near Fort Bragg. His sister, Griselda Martinez, has said he was with seven other soldiers.

According to the Army, Martinez’s friends reported him missing a day later. After about a week, his partial remains were found washed ashore on Shackleford Banks Island.

“We want these people that went along with my brother to know that it hurts us, and we want to know what’s going on,” said one of his other sisters, Veronica Martinez.

Nearly three months later, there remains no suspect or motive in the paratrooper’s death.

“He went to the Army because they promised free college, you know, they promised honor, they promised respect,” Griselda Martinez said during Saturday’s vigil. “They promised so many things to him but they didn’t promise him his life because my brother’s dead.”

Rep. Norma Torres, whose congressional district includes Chino, also attended the vigil and spoke about the need for deeper investigation.

“It’s a horrific murder,” Torres said. “There are people out there that know what happened.”

Anyone with information leading to an arrest and conviction is eligible for a $25,000 reward being offered by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

Those with tips can reach Army CID Special Agents at 910-396-8777 or the Military Police Desk at 910-396-1179

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Martinez family.

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