Woman Hunts Down Dad's Killer Online, 26 Years Later

Determined Joselyn Martinez 'basically solved the case'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 11, 2013 9:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – In 1986, Justo Santos and another teen walked into Jose Martinez's New York restaurant and, allegedly, started harassing Martinez's wife. Martinez kicked him out, and as they argued on the sidewalk, witnesses say Santos shot Martinez dead. Police identified Santos as the suspected killer immediately, but he fled to the Dominican Republic; in the 26 years since, his trail had gone cold—until Martinez's daughter and namesake Joselyn, who was nine when her father was murdered, tracked him down online.

Joselyn Martinez, a singer and actress, spent 10 years trying to solve the case on her own, talking to detectives about the murder and looking for Santos on social media sites (she got the idea after joining MySpace in 2004). As a child, she remembers, "My mom told me to never forget his name. She'd tell me, 'You have to know who did this to your family.'" Martinez even kept his wanted posters as a reminder, the New York Post reports. She finally found Santos while searching on Background.com, and ultimately spent just $280 on similar sites to get his address and phone number, which she delivered to police. Santos was arrested in Miami on Thursday and is expected to be brought back to New York this week; a source says he has confessed to the killing. Joselyn Martinez "was dynamite," a police source tells the New York Daily News. "She basically solved the case."

  (Shutterstock)
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