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Arrest in sister’s murder pumps up popular bodybuilder

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

World-class bodybuilder Victor Martinez hadn’t been to the gym since before his sister was found dead last week. He finally returned to Can Do Fitness in Edgewater — and that’s when he got the news: Police had arrested and charged an elevator operator with her murder. “I screamed in the locker room,” Martinez said.

“Yesterday I was a little down,” said Martinez, who opened his own restaurant, Muscle Maker Grill, in Edgewater on Friday. “But once I got the news it shined a whole new light.”


Before long, the popular 38-year-old bodybuilder was on the phone with relatives from the Dominican Republic.

Police had been waiting for the results of DNA tests from tissue fouind under the fingernails of Eridania Rodriguez, a 46-year-old cleaning woman whose body was found in an air duct of a downtown Manhattan building.

Once they got the DNA results last night, they swarmed Joseph Pabon, 25, whom they’d been tailing since last week, and took him into custody near his home on Long Island.

Pabon, an elevator operator in the same building, had scratches on his neck, hands and arms, as well as other bruises associated with a struggle, when detectives interviewed him shortly after finding the mother of three’s decomposed corpse, her face wrapped in the tape, a gold crucifix pinned to her mouth.

A judge today denied Pabon bail.

“I heard he was in court today crying,” Victor Martinez said. “He’s so tough to kill a nice innocent woman, but he’s crying in court. He’s not so tough.”

Rodriguez and Pabon worked at 2 Rector Street, a 26-story tower near Ground Zero, but Victor said she’d became nervous about working the late shift because the building was so empty after business hours. She’d even been spooked by an incident, he said, in which someone had been following her.

His heart heavy with grief, Martinez refused to fly with relatives to the DR for his sister’s burial because, he said, Pabon hadn’t been arrested yet.

Although still pained, Martinez said he can now get down to the business of his business, a health food restaurant that caters to both professional athletes and weekend warriors. The company that issued the franchise hopes to make the River Road eatery a cornerstone of its business — with Victor as its spokesperson.

Those who know him have no doubt: His magnetic personality will help Victor’s business thrive. And his dedication to winning Mr. Olympia, a dream he’s pursued for 18 years, will help him bring home the title from Las Vegas come September. Read more….


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