Woman Helps Cops Catch The Man Who Killed Her Father When She Was Nine
A woman helped cops find the man who killed her father 26 years earlier.
Joselyn Martinez was just nine years old in November 1986 when her dad, Jose Martinez, was shot and killed outside the restaurant he owned in Manhattan, New York.
According to reports, Jose was shot after he kicked out three youths who had been harassing members of staff.
Police identified the killer as 16-year-old Justo Santos, however, he fled the country before cops from New York Police Department were able to arrest him. That left Martinez heartbroken.
Joselyn said: "It was horrific, disastrous, we were never the same. The killer was identified, he was from the area.
"Before they identified him, he was on a plane the next day. He shot my dad and then caught the next flight to the Dominican Republic."
While in the Dominican Republic, Santos admitted to firing the fatal shot, but claimed it was accidental and that he acted in self-defence. In 1989, he went to court where he pleaded guilty under Dominican Republic law to the involuntary manslaughter of Mr Martinez. He was ordered to pay a fine and spend a year in prison.
However, at that time, there was no extradition between the Dominican Republic and the US, so the NYPD closed the case. But for Joselyn that wasn't good enough, so she carried out some detective work via the internet to try and get justice.
"My father was killed, and I'm just supposed to forget it, like it never happened?" she said. "I don't think so. It doesn't bring the person back, but justice has to be done. It's a need."
She began scouring social media sites - MySpace and Facebook - to try and track him down.
"I can't tell you the hours I put in, I was obsessed. I just thought, 'I'm going to get the guy, I'm going to find him, and I'm going to get him arrested'.
"They said that everyone is separated by six degrees, so I just figured that someone had to know him."
In January 2013, Joselyn made a breakthrough when she managed to get her hands on one of the NYPD's files on the case and found Santos' date of birth. She was then able to track him down and a month later found that he was living in Miami, where he worked in a police station as a janitor.
Joselyn passed his address to cops at the NYPD and, after a few months' investigation, he was arrested.
She said: "When the arrest was made it just felt like relief, like a huge burden had been taken off of my back."
In October 2013, he was charged with murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.
Later that month, a judge from New York State Supreme Court then ruled that the district attorney had waited too long to bring charges against Santos and his case was dismissed.
However, in July 2016 he was convicted in Miami of immigration fraud as he hadn't declared his criminal record when filling in his citizenship application - the crime carries a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment.
Joselyn says that despite not facing charges over the death of her father, Santos' conviction has brought her some peace.
She said: "My family feels very happy, satisfied, it has actually brought us closer.
"I feel like I can move on with my life now, I didn't realise how much it was affecting me, it was such a big part of my life. I feel free."
Featured Image Credit: Barcroft