When police found a family of six dead in their Chicago, Illinois, home, the initial belief was that they’d stumbled across a murder-suicide scenario. However, the Associated Press reports that local authorities now believe the six family members were targeted for murder.
According to ABC7 Chicago, police were sent out to the Gage Park residence of 62-year-old Noe Martinez Sr. and 58-year-old Rosaura Martinez for a “well-being check.” The couple’s 32-year-old son, Noe Martinez Jr., had not been to work in a couple of days, and co-workers had not heard from him during that period. This behavior was apparently far from usual for Martinez Jr., leading them to call 911.
ABC7 reports that when police peered into the window, they saw what looked like a body sprawled on the floor. An officer told the dispatcher, “It’s going to be a crime scene. This guy looks like he’s been stabbed multiple times.” The policemen had spoken with neighbors before entering the family’s home, already anticipating finding six bodies.
Noe, Rosaura, and their son were found dead along with three other victims: 32-year-old Maria Herminia Martinez and her two sons, Leonardo Cruz and Alexis Cruz. The boys were 13- and 10-years-old, respectively.
The crime scene and the nature in which the six family members were found initially suggested this was a very personal killing — a murder-suicide. NBC Chicago reported that police found no sign of a forced entry — there was also nothing taken or disturbed in the home.
It wasn’t until the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office had a chance to better examine the bodies of the deceased family that it was determined they were all homicide victims. The medical examiner said that five of the victims were stabbed or suffered blunt force trauma. Daughter Maria Herminia Martinez was the only one who died from gunshot wounds. The medical examiner’s office believes the family of six were killed sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Crosses with the names of the six victims were found outside the home, placed there as part of a memorial for the deceased family.
Mourners gather at Gage Park home where family of 6 found dead. CPD offers reward for info pic.twitter.com/nYaNWe8JhT— Andy Grimm (@agrimm34) February 6, 2016
Those who knew the Martinez household are reeling from the violent nature in which they were killed. The Martinez couple first moved into the home, located on the 5700-block of South California Avenue, about nine years ago. Mayra Diego, a next-door neighbor, referred to them as “quiet and peaceful” people. At the time of their death, the family had run into financial difficulties. It’s believed they were struggling to keep their home — a fact that reportedly filled patriarch Noe Sr. with much shame.
At the time of their death, the family had run into financial difficulties. It’s believed they were struggling to keep their home — a fact that reportedly filled patriarch Noe Sr. with much shame. He was reportedly working with the bank to make payments. They rented out a nearby home to help, and the resident said that he was often apologetic when he came to collect the rent.
“He would be embarrassed when he came on the first to pick up his rent and I would be like, ‘No, it’s fine,’ and he’s like, ‘No, it’s just like I need to make the payments.’ “
Heartbroken relatives of the murder victims, including 29-year-old Noemi Martinez, are now working on burial arrangements that would allow all six people to be laid to rest in their native Mexico. A GoFundMe page was set up for this purpose. The initial goal was $11,000, but the page has since raised over $25,000.
It’s being reported that Mexican officials are working with the consulate in Chicago to offer assistance to surviving relatives of the Martinez family.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]