WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The family of Sierra Hernandez, who was reported missing on January 14, can now focus on mourning her after being released from jail. The 20-year-old’s father, brother, and three other family members were arrested while searching for her in a backyard and unexpectedly charged with armed burglary and tampering with evidence. Despite their release, the family still faces the tragic reality that Sierra’s body was found and she was murdered by 26-year-old Enrique Martinez, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
After a months-long manhunt, Martinez was taken into custody near State Road 540 and Cooley Road in the Eagle Lake area. This arrest brings relief to not only the Hernandez family but also the family of Edil Fernando Rodriguez Jr., whom Martinez is accused of killing back on November 8. Both families expressed gratitude and a sense of closure now that Martinez has been apprehended.
However, mixed emotions still linger, with Melissa Rodriguez, Edil’s sister, feeling a sense of peace knowing Martinez is no longer a threat but also harboring anger. Similarly, Trey Stokes, Hernandez’s cousin, voiced the family’s desperation to find their loved one and their desire to begin moving forward. The family’s ordeal highlights the toll of the search for a missing loved one and the heartbreaking truth they ultimately faced.
Despite the tragedy, the arrest represents a step towards justice for both families, signaling the closure of one chapter in their ordeal. This ordeal also serves as a stark reminder of the impact of violent crimes on the loved ones left behind.