POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office are asking for help finding a man who was already wanted for murder and is now a suspect in the murder of a young woman who was reported missing by her family.
According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, 20-year-old Sierra Hernandez was reported missing on Jan. 14 by her mother after relatives said they hadn’t heard from her in some time.
Judd said their investigation into Hernandez’ disappearance began with a search for her vehicle.
Very few details have been released on the investigative steps that were taken next, but Judd says detectives eventually recovered Hernandez’ body and determined she had been murdered.
Judd says they’ve identified 26-year-old Enrique Martinez as the “prime suspect” in Hernandez’ death.
Deputies say they’re familiar with Martinez, as they’ve been looking for him since November for his involvement in another murder.
Back in November, deputies announced they’d issued an arrest warrant for Martinez charging him with first-degree murder, possession of a firearm and ammo by a convicted felon, and tampering with evidence.
Investigators say Martinez, who lived in a homeless camp on Eloise Terrace in Winter Haven at the time, shot and killed another homeless man in the camp on the night of Wednesday, Nov. 8 at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Deputies say they were already searching for Martinez when Hernandez was reported missing. According to the sheriff’s office, investigators believe Hernandez was killed days before she was reported missing.
According to the sheriff’s office, Martinez has been difficult to find because he has friends and relatives who have been helping to hide him from authorities.
Judd says his deputies nearly captured Martinez on two occasions in recent weeks. In one instance, Judd says Martinez was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over during a routine traffic stop, but he was able to jump out and escape.
On Sunday, Judd says they received a tip about Martinez’ location, but he was “minutes ahead” of them and ran just before deputies arrived.
The sheriff’s office is now offering a $10,000 reward through Heartland Crime Stoppers of Florida for information leading to Martinez’ arrest.
Martinez is described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing approximately 146 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair.
According to the sheriff’s office, Martinez also has a tattoo on his left wrist that says “W7″ and one on the left side of his neck that says “Natalia.” His nickname is “KiKi.”
Deputies say Martinez has a “lengthy and violent” criminal history dating back to 2011 that includes more than a dozen felonies.
He was most recently arrested in April of 2023 for domestic violence and released on bond.
Anyone with information on where to find Martinez is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-400-8477 or visit www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.
According to the sheriff’s office, Martinez is not the only suspect in the murder of Sierra Hernandez, but the others potentially involved have not been publicly identified.
©2024 Cox Media Group