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Area Man Charged In 1999 Cold Case Murder Of Teen Girl

More than two decades after a 13-year-old girl was killed in New York, a suspect from Westchester has been apprehended and is facing murder charges, authorities announced.
More than two decades after a 13-year-old girl was killed in New York, a suspect from Westchester has been apprehended and is facing murder charges, authorities announced. Photo Credit: Pixabay/diegoparra

More than two decades after a 13-year-old girl was killed in New York, a suspect from Westchester has been apprehended and is facing murder charges, authorities announced.

Joseph Martinez, age 49, of New Rochelle, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder for his role in the February 1999 slaying of 13-year-old Minerliz Soriano in the Bronx.

Martinez was taken into custody by NYPD investigators on Monday, Nov. 29, 22 years after Soriano was found strangled to death in a Bronx dumpster after she was last seen leaving Bronxdale Middle School in 1999.

Investigators said that Soriano’s body was found wrapped in a trash bag behind a Bartow Avenue video store in the Bronx after her disappearance.

According to multiple reports, Martinez was identified as a suspect by investigators using familial DNA, which allows police to identify potential relatives that match the DNA being tested to narrow the search. 

The case had been cold for the previous two decades, though the investigation never ceased.

Martinez was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, Nov. 30 on the murder charges. More information is expected to be released in the coming days.

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