Investigation Discovery’s ‘Death by Fame: The Killing Game’ chronicles the brutal killing of the 24-year-old mother of two, Catherine “Brasilia” Martinez, in Houston, Texas, in July 2014. While the police had no difficulties in arresting the alleged perpetrator, they remain still to be convicted for their crime owing to legalities. If you’re interested in knowing more, including the identity and current whereabouts of the alleged killer, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what we know so far.
How Did Catherine “Brasilia” Martinez Die?
Catherine “Brasilia” Martinez was born to Mary Figueroa in Chicago on January 15, 1990. She was a fitness model and aspiring boxer with a substantial internet presence and a significant following on YouTube and Instagram. In her professional profiles, she went by the name Brasilia Martinez. Due to her stately beauty and sharp facial features, her mother called her daughter “my Bonita,” which is Spanish for “beautiful.”
In July 2014, Catherine lived with her partner, Russell Neal, then 39, in the Cedar Creek complex on 3766 Tanglewilde in southwest Houston, Texas. While her family claimed the couple was technically not married, they shared two boys – Raphael, then 3, and Diego, then 5. Her neighbors described 24-year-old Catherine as kindhearted and stated her love for the kids. The neighbors said they regularly noticed the couple around the complex and that they did not seem to have any marital problems or issues.
One of the neighbors, Quincy Toler, recounted, “The mom, she never said too much, but you can tell she loved her kids. She kept them clean, they looked good, kept nice.” Hence, it came as a shock when the officers of the Houston Police Department forcefully entered her apartment to find the fitness model lying dead under a blanket on the living room floor. According to police reports, the aspiring boxer suffered multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.
Who Killed Catherine “Brasilia” Martinez?
On July 2, 2014, Russell walked into a Harris County Sheriff’s Department building and calmly informed the officer-in-charge that his wife required medical attention. He claimed they had an argument but refused to communicate further, clamming up and requesting legal counsel. Following his claims, the authorities barged into the couple’s southwest Houston apartment to find the dead body of Catherine.
Russell was part of the 90s singing group Hi-Five, an R&B quintet based in Waco, Texas. A platinum-selling artist, he had two smash hits, including “I Like the Way” (‘The Kissing Game’), which topped the charts in 1991. However, Catherine’s family claimed Russell had long lost popularity and strived on his partner’s income. They painted him as an abusive man who disrespected Catherine and even allegedly charged her $40 to babysit his own children.
Catherine’s mother, Figueroa, tearfully recounted, “He was abusive the whole time, and I kept telling my daughter, ‘Leave it alone. Let it go.'” Her worst fears came true when Russell was arrested and charged with Catherine’s murder on July 2. According to news reports, the family had spent the last weekend with the fitness model in Killeen. When Catherine did not show up for training at the Metroflex Gym, her training partner started to get worried.
The training partner stated Catherine spent hours training as she concentrated on her goals, and it was highly unlikely for her to miss workouts without prior notice. Catherine’s sister, Glenda Lewis, lamented, “They (the police) just keep saying she might have been lifeless for days.” Mary Alice Valencia, working at a bond office across the street from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department building, witnessed police arresting Russell. Another individual named Wayne Head posted pictures of the incident on his Facebook account.
Mary recalled, “I was working and noticed across the street when the police officers pulled up. About four police went inside, and they walked out with a gentleman who was handcuffed. He wasn’t resisting arrest or fighting with them or saying anything. When they brought him out in handcuffs, he was just as calm as can be, and they just put him in a police car.”
The police are not clear on the motive of the murder as Russell refused to cooperate with the authorities. However, the couple’s neighbors offered possible explanations, with one of them, Keenon Shufford, suggesting, “Apparently a guilty conscience, a guilty conscience, a crime of passion. You just never know. I think he just probably lost it.”
Where is Russell Neal Now?
Russell was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of his partner. He was released on a $100,000 bond as he awaited trial. However, US Marshal’s Service deputies arrested him in May 2015 from Waco after a warrant was issued out of Harris County on charges that he failed to appear for a court date. According to reports, he displayed suicidal tendencies, and the authorities were called to his apartment.
The officers talked with him and left since they had no grounds of arresting Russell, with the court time not passed yet. While in prison, he started displaying alleged acts of insanity, claiming he was “Jesus Christ.” According to the show, the prosecution contented Russell was “playing crazy” to avoid his murder trial and refused to drop the charges.
However, several consecutive competency trials deemed Russell as mentally unfit to stand trial and the court ordered him to be under treatment. Since then, Russell, now in his late-40s, remain admitted to a mental institution at Rusk State Hospital in Texas. However, the prosecution still claims that he was completely self-aware when he fatally attacked his wife in 2014.
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