Enrique Roman-Martinez: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?

The camping trip of Enrique Roman-Martinez and his fellow soldiers turned into a nightmare when he vanished into thin air. Things got worse when his remains washed ashore, forcing the authorities to launch an extensive investigation. In the episode titled ‘The Lost Soldier of Fort Bragg’ of Oxygen’s ‘Sins of the South,’ the viewers get an in-depth look at the murder case of Enrique, from the events that led to the horrific discovery to the investigation that is still ongoing. Moreover, the episode features interviews with the loved ones of the victim as well as the officers connected to the case.

Partial Remains of Enrique Roman-Martinez Was Found a Week After His Disappearance

Born on September 7, 1998, in Pomona, California, SPC Enrique “Quique” Roman-Martinez was into airplanes from his early days. So, to fulfill his dreams, he moved to Georgia and attended airborne school. Being a hard worker, he never hesitated to go the extra mile, even on weekends. Despite growing up apart from his older sister, Griselda Martinez, for most of his life, they shared a close-knit bond. According to his sister, Enrique was a sensitive person who loved to make others laugh with his jokes. After completing his education, he joined the army at the young age of 17 and was employed as a human resources specialist at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which is now known as Fort Liberty.

During his tenure in the Army, serving in the 82nd Airborne Division, Enrique won various accolades and medals, including the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War On Terror Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Parachutist Badge. Apart from being a dedicated army man, he was also a family man who wanted to help out his mother, who used to work three jobs at the time. In May 2020, a group of soldiers, including Enrique, decided to break Fort Bragg’s COVID-19 restrictions and go camping at Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina, near Mile Marker 46 on South Core Banks.

Just a few days into the camping trip, on May 22, 2020, Enrique went missing. After searching for him for hours, the following evening, his fellow soldiers reported him missing. What’s strange is that his belongings, like his phone, wallet, and glasses, were at the campsite. About a week later, on May 29, the severed head of the missing man washed up on Shackleford Banks Island, a few miles away from the camping site. When the police inspected the body, they officially declared his death a homicide.

Mystery Still Surrounds the Identity of Enrique Roman-Martinez’s Killer

According to the soldier who called the police and reported Enrique Roman-Martinez missing, he appeared to have suicidal tendencies, and there might be a chance he could have hurt himself. However, his sister Griselda denied the claims as she had a talk with her brother a few days before. She claimed that after spending a couple of years in the Army, he began complaining about several aspects of his job and contemplated getting out multiple times. The Army actively investigated the murder of Enrique for about a year and a half, but the case went cold when no incriminating evidence was found related to Enrique’s death. During that time, the FBI traveled across the country, conducted more than 400 interviews, and executed over 100 warrants and subpoenas.

Image Credit: ABC11

Although the perpetrator/s of Enrique was not found, the investigation led to the arrest of three Fort Bragg paratroopers who faced drug charges. Another consequence of the soldier’s investigation turning cold was the Army coming up with a centralized cold case unit in 2022. In January 2023, frustrated by the fruitless investigation, Griselda Martinez told Military, “I want the truth. I want more effort for my brother. … I want justice for my family. … He was in the safest place in the whole world, and my brother was murdered on American land serving as a member of the military. This closure is everything to me. It’s for my mom, for my family, my brother’s friends — the people that touched his life — it’s for all of us.”

Enrique Roman-Martinez’s Family Members Are Keeping Their Hopes Alive

On the third anniversary of Enrique’s demise in May 2023, his family still had hopes of finding the killer. His sister, Griselda, told ABC 11, “My brother’s life was taken away, and he always said he’d give his life to the country, and his life was taken away.” She elaborated on her disappointment with the investigation, “They can’t figure out who did it, they can’t figure out what happened. They can’t figure that out, but you know, I bet you if it was the President of the United States, they would’ve had it solved in two minutes.” She even revealed that the officials were thinking about reopening the investigation.

For a few years, the US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) has been offering a cash reward of up to $50,000 for anyone who provides a significant piece of information leading to the arrest or whereabouts of the killer responsible for the death of Enrique Roman-Martinez. It has been four years since the 21-year-old soldier went missing, but his family, especially his sister, is far from giving up on getting justice for him.

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