WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA – After two months on the run, a suspected murderer has been captured by authorities. 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. This marked the end of a search that began after a man identified as Edil Rodriguez was murdered at a homeless camp on November 8, 2023. Martinez was also suspected in the killing of 20-year-old Sierra Hernandez, who was reported missing on January 14th, but believed to have disappeared days earlier.
Judd mentioned that the suspect, 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. Authorities were shocked to spot Martinez “casually walking” on a sidewalk just north of Eagle Lake. Martinez then ran into a wooded line to escape, but was eventually caught after deputies and officers with the Winter Haven Police Department set up a perimeter and searched for Martinez with a K-9.
Judd revealed that Martinez initially tried to run from deputies, but eventually surrendered peacefully, commenting that it was “a pretty easy choice when you’re surrounded by 100 deputy sheriffs with guns.” He also mentioned that the investigation into Hernandez’s death remains ongoing and that there may be other suspects.
The arrest of the suspected murderer brought relief to the community and served as a testament to the perseverance of law enforcement officers. The capture of Martinez brought a sense of closure to the families of the victims and brought justice to those affected by his alleged crimes. As the investigation continues, the community can rest assured that the authorities will leave no stone unturned in seeking out the truth and holding those responsible accountable.