By Rachael Riley
The Fayetteville Observer
A California congresswoman has launched a invoice named after a Fort Bragg soldier whose severed head was discovered washed up on the North Carolina coast in 2020.
The Enrique Roman-Martinez Navy Chilly Case Justice Act of 2022 would create uniform requirements for navy chilly instances and establishes procedures ought to an investigator go away the case.
Spc. Roman-Martinez, 21, of Chino, California, was reported lacking Might 23, 2020, at Cape Lookout Nationwide Seashore in Carteret County by fellow Fort Bragg troopers.
His partial stays washed ashore six days later. His physique has by no means been discovered.
Roman-Martinez was final seen alive the day earlier than he was reported lacking whereas tenting with seven different troopers assigned to his unit, Headquarters Firm, thirty seventh Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Fight Group, 82nd Airborne Division.
The invoice named after him was launched in November by Rep. Norma Torres, D-California.
Roman-Martinez’s household lives in Torres’ congressional district.
Torres has been involved with Roman-Martinez’s household since his dying and was with them when his partial stays have been flown again to California.
“Spc. Roman-Martinez and his household deserve justice for his homicide, and it’s an outrage that after two years of investigations we nonetheless don’t have any solutions in his case,” Torres stated in a Nov. 11 information launch.
The investigation is now not lively except any new credible leads come up, a spokesman for the Army Felony Investigation Command stated final November.
Nobody has been charged in his dying which has been labeled as a murder.
A $50,000 reward for details about Roman-Martinez’s case stays lively.
What the invoice would do
Torres stated as a mom of an Air Pressure veteran and a U.S. consultant, she refuses to simply accept “failure by the Army to supply justice for Roman-Martinez and his household.”
“Navy investigators want established processes and procedures for chilly instances, together with a course of for unbiased overview, when vital,” Torres stated. “With out them, investigators can’t be held accountable for failing to maneuver ahead with instances like these, and I’ll do all I can to make sure no navy household in the US has to attend for justice or solutions.”
The invoice directs the secretary of protection “to develop and implement uniform requirements for the remedy of chilly instances by navy felony investigative organizations.”
Particularly, the payments requests that the secretary of the Army develop a report for Congress to ascertain a chilly case unit within the Army Felony Investigation Division much like chilly case models for the Naval Felony Investigative Service and the Air Pressure Workplace of Particular Investigations
It moreover requires officers to “specify the circumstances,” underneath which a case is referred to the Inspector Normal of the Division of Protection for overview and would set up procedures for transferring the case to a brand new investigator if the preliminary investigator transfers or leaves the group.
Roman-Martinez’s sister, Griselda Martinez, has stated that the household just isn’t glad with the Army’s dealing with of her brother’s case.
She stated although investigators informed the household they discovered no proof within the case, it took three days for an official seek for her brother to be launched and that rain throughout these three days probably destroyed proof.
An August 2021 information launch acknowledged that Army CID particular brokers coordinated with a number of nationwide, state and native companies on the case, together with the 82nd Airborne Division.
In keeping with the information launch, a specialised activity pressure comprised of CID brokers, FBI staff and the FBI’s Behavioral Evaluation Unit has executed greater than 100 warrants and subpoenas, carried out greater than 400 interviews and returned to the island seven instances to conduct air, land and sea searches for extra proof.
There have been searches of proof from cellphones and autos together with greater than 130 objects analyzed.
Not one of the objects revealed any hint of blood, DNA, or different forensic proof, the CID information launch acknowledged.
Throughout a June court-martial of one of many troopers who final noticed Roman-Martinez alive, Griselda Martinez stated that the household wasn’t initially informed about mendacity and conspiracy prices introduced towards the seven troopers who final noticed her brother alive.
Instances of troopers who final noticed Roman-Martinez alive
Martinez stated she discovered extra concerning the investigation into her brother’s dying from the court docket proceedings towards his fellow troopers than the household was ever informed by investigators.
An instance, she stated, is that she discovered in court docket that the troopers on the journey together with her brother have been allowed to speak to one another for a number of months earlier than an order was issued that they don’t discuss to one another.
Spc. Alex Becerra, who referred to as 911 to report Roman-Martinez lacking at Cape Lookout Nationwide Seashore in Carteret County, pleaded responsible in June to utilizing LSD, a hallucinogenic drug, and disobeying a superior officer and was ordered to be demoted to the rank of personal.
Becerra and different troopers on the journey have been accused of omitting the presence of Becerra’s girlfriend on the time, Pvt. Annamarie Cochell, from being on the journey.
Becerra alleged that Cochell was caught underage consuming months previous to the tenting journey and he didn’t need her to get in additional hassle.
Sgt. Samuel Moore, one of many troopers who final noticed Roman-Martinez alive, pleaded responsible July 15 to 1 rely of conspiracy and two counts of offering a false assertion within the investigation into Roman-Martinez’s disappearance.
In keeping with court docket data, Moore made a false assertion to investigators by saying that among the troopers Roman-Martinez was tenting with left the island at 2 a.m. to catch a ferry at 8 a.m., however Moore omitted the presence of Cochell, whose identify is redacted from the cost sheet.
Moore was lowered in rank to specialist and forfeited two-thirds of his pay for one month.
Spc. Joshua Curry pleaded responsible Aug. 3 to 1 rely of failure to obey a lawful order and one rely of dereliction of obligation.
Curty was sentenced to a discount in rank to a non-public for sophistication and confinement for 10 days.
Becerra testified throughout his court docket martial that he defied the no-contact order by talking to Cochell as a result of she was his girlfriend and talking to Curry as a result of he was his pal for a number of years. He denied ever talking with both concerning the investigation.
Cochell and Pfc. Samad Landrum have been granted immunity in change for his or her testimony at Becerra’s court-martial. Every admitted prematurely of their testimony that the deal they made included simply 30 days of confinement and that the fees wouldn’t be mirrored of their data.
Cochell’s and Landrum’s separate court-martials are Jan. 17-20.
Different troopers on the journey embody Spcs. Juan Avila, whose arraignment is Jan. 24, and Benjamin E. Sibley, whose court-martial is Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
Particular Agent Steve Chancellor, who led the Army’s probe into Roman-Martinez’s dying, testified in June that by April 2021, 4 of the seven troopers who final noticed Roman-Martinez alive have been eradicated as “individuals of curiosity.
“We actually didn’t really feel strongly on any of them,” he stated.
Rep. Torres informed The Fayetteville Observer in November 2021 that Roman-Martinz’s case was riddled with points together with delays in declaring him a lacking particular person and the way lengthy it took earlier than divers looked for the remainder of his stays.
Authorities introduced in December 2020 — almost seven months after Roman-Martinez’s head was discovered — that divers have been looking out waters for proof and the remainder of the stays.
“He was such a great particular person, so loving and so caring, and to assume that somebody lower off his head and hated him that a lot — I believe that’s the half that hurts us all. They didn’t have to do this ..,” Griselda Martinez stated a yr after her brother’s dying. “I want we may have had a funeral that had the choice of the open casket so let’s imagine our goodbye. There was no final goodbye.”
Anybody with details about Roman-Martinez’s dying is requested to contact Army particular brokers at 910-396-8777 or the Navy Police Desk at 910-396-1179. They will additionally anonymously submit data to the Army CID’s web site at cid.military.mil/report-a-crime.html.
Observer Workers author Rachael Riley will be reached at email@example.com or 910-486-3528.
Editor’s notice: This text has been printed as a part of a content-sharing settlement between Army Occasions and numerous publications.