Rep. Norma J. Torres, D-Calif., is calling on the Pentagon to make reforms to how it handles cold cases a year after Army Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez’s death was declared a cold case.
“The fact that Spc. Roman-Martinez’s case remains unsolved is unacceptable, and I have previously demanded that the Pentagon’s inspector general conduct a full, independent examination of what happened to this case,” Torres said in a statement to Military.com Monday.
The lawmaker’s comments come as the case into the mysterious death of Roman-Martinez has remained unsolved for over two years. The soldier was one of eight who took a Memorial Day 2020 camping trip last year on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with one of the members of the group reporting him missing during the trip.
Roman-Martinez’s head eventually washed ashore a few miles from where he was last seen, and his death was marked a homicide by investigators. However, the investigation quickly fizzled and was officially deemed a cold case.
Investigators have yet to determine how the soldier’s decapitation occurred, and nobody has been charged in the case. One of the soldiers on the trip was later charged for conspiracy or drug-related misconduct for actions on the trip, and one has since been discharged from the Army.
Roman-Martinez’s family has since been critical of how the military has handled the investigation, saying Army investigators and the FBI have not been responsive during the search for clues.
“I have nobody,” the soldier’s sister, Griselda Martinez, told Military.com. “I had nobody this whole time on the team that actually wanted to help me, that wanted to help my family — my mom.”
“At the end of the day, I think [investigators] are just done with it,” Martinez added, saying she believed they were “trying to wash their hands of it.”
Torres has tried to lead an effort to reform military investigations in response, introducing the Enrique Roman-Martinez Military Cold Case Justice Act to Congress, which would direct the Secretary of Defense to reform how the military handles cold cases and implement oversight mechanisms.
“Specialist Roman-Martinez and his family deserve justice for his murder, and it is an outrage that after two years of investigations we still have no answers in his case,” Torres said.
The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division did not immediately reply to a Fox News request for comment, but a spokesperson for CID told Military.com that the “investigation remains open and ongoing.”
The spokesperson noted that there is also a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.