florida suspect in murders of missing woman man at homeless camp captured after months on the run

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A Florida man suspected in the separate murders of a missing woman and a man at a homeless camp has been captured after two months on the run, authorities said Tuesday.

Enrique Martinez, 26, was found wandering on a sidewalk near Cooley Road and SR 540 in Winter Haven, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced at a news conference.

“He was pretty good at avoiding us for a period of time, but our deputies and detectives, who are the very best, never gave up,” Judd said. 

The search for Martinez began after a man identified as Edil Rodriguez was murdered at a homeless camp on Nov. 8, 2023. Those efforts doubled after he was also suspected in the killing of 20-year-old Sierra Hernandez, who was reported missing on Jan. 14 but believed to have gone missing days earlier.

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Enrique Martinez, 26, was taken into custody in Polk County, Florida, on Tuesday afternoon. (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

Judd earlier announced on Monday that deputies had recovered Hernandez’s body.

Sierra Hernandez

Sierra Hernandez, 20, was reported missing on Jan. 14, but investigators believe she had gone missing days earlier. (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff said detectives were shocked when they spotted the wanted man “casually walking” on the sidewalk just north of Eagle Lake. Martinez then ran into a wooded line to escape.

Judd said deputies and officers with the Winter Haven Police Department set up a perimeter and searched for Martinez with a K-9. Martinez eventually walked out of the wooded area and surrendered peacefully. 

Enrique Martinez mugshot

Martinez initially tried to run from deputies, but eventually surrendered peacefully, Judd said. (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

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Judd described looking in on the suspect as he was sitting in the back of a police car.

“I looked at him, and he said, ‘Hey, sheriff. How you doing?’ I said, ‘Fine, are you tired?’ He says, ‘I gave myself up.’ Well, that’s a pretty easy choice when you’re surrounded by 100 deputy sheriffs with guns,” the sheriff said.

Judd said that Martinez has a violent criminal history, which includes 13 felony arrests, 15 misdemeanor arrests and served five years in prison for stabbing an ex-girlfriend in the face.

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Judd said the investigation into Hernandez’s death remains ongoing and that there may be other suspects.

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