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Clearwater police identify suspect in 2003 double murder

9:22 AM, Oct 30, 2012   |    comments
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  • Gilberto Juarez-Hernandez wanted for the murders of Petra Martin and her 2-yer-old son, Uriel Martin, back in 2003.
  • Petra and Uriel Martin were found stabbed to death in their apartment in 2003. Police say Gilberto Juarez-Hernandez is responsible for the crime.


CLEARWATER, Florida -- It's taken nine years, but Clearwater police say they have a suspect in the murders of a mother and her 2-year-old son.

Clearwater police say a bloody fingerprint helped them identify the man they say is responsible for what police describe as a "horrific and heinous" crime. Investigators repeatedly submitted the print until they got a name. Now police say they have to find him.

"This crime requires justice," said Lt. James Keinsorge. It will come with the arrest of 32-year-old Gilberto Juarez-Hernandez. He's wanted for the murders of 31-year-old Petra Martin and her son, Uriel.

Lt. Keinsorge, who was the original investigator on the case, said, "You're talking about a 2-year-old child who recently overcame cancer, and a young mother. Both had their whole lives ahead of them."

Police say both were stabbed to death in their home on July 19, 2003. The mother received multiple stab wounds. "It did not appear to be random. It appeared they were the targets of this crime," said Lt. Keinsorge.

Police don't know what connection Juarez-Hernandez had to the victims, or the motivation behind the crime. Juarez-Hernandez's mugshot is from a 1999 arrest in Iowa for fraud. Police say he's aged in 13 years, but he has two distinctive moles on his face.

"You look at him and he looks like anyone you'd see on the street," said Elizabeth Perez. She was just 14 years old when the murders occurred. Elizabeth said she remembers Petra working for a Mexican restaurant her family once owned.

Elizabeth said, "She was a hardworking woman, very honest, very nice."

Elizabeth's family business, Don Pancho Villa Market and Deli on U.S. 19, is one of several Mexican businesses that raised money to send Petra and her son's bodies back to Mexico for burial.

Nine years later, Elizabeth, who is also a mother of a 2-year-old, often thinks about the kind of person who would kill a child. "For me, it would be somebody without a heart."

She's glad Clearwater police kept investigating. "It does make you feel safe knowing they will keep looking."

Clearwater police say Juarez-Hernandez entered the country illegally. They suspect he may be in Florida, Iowa, or possibly in Mexico. Besides the moles on his face, Juarez-Hernandez also has scars on the back of his left hand.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.

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