CLEARWATER — After nine years without significant leads, police have named a suspect in the stabbing deaths of a 31-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son.
Clearwater detectives believe Gilberto Juarez-Hernandez, 32, stabbed Petra and Uriel Martin in their home on July 19, 2003. The toddler had cancer and had just finished a last round of chemotherapy before his death.
Police have not arrested Juarez-Hernandez and don't know where he is, but a warrant has been issued for his arrest on two counts of capital murder. Detectives have issued a "red notice" through Interpol, which notifies 190 countries that he is wanted.
A bloody fingerprint implicated Juarez-Hernandez, Clearwater police Lt. James Kleinsorge said during a news conference Monday. Recent advances in fingerprint technology finally led to a match.
Petra Martin lived with her son and infant daughter in the East Gateway area east of downtown Clearwater. They shared the home with Martin's boyfriend and a couple of roommates. Martin was a native of Hidalgo, a state in Mexico, but family members said then that she had lived in the United States for several years.
The infant daughter was at the home at the time of the killings, but was not harmed. She is now living with family members in Mexico, police said.
In 2003, the lack of a suspect and the fact that a child was killed spread fear through the local Hispanic community.
"After 21 years in law enforcement," Kleinsorge said, "this is by far the most heinous crime I've ever been involved in."
The slayings were not random, Kleinsorge said, but it isn't clear how well Martin knew Juarez-Hernandez. Police have not determined a motive.
Juarez-Hernandez's last known address was in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2008. In a photo detectives obtained from a 1999 arrest there, Juarez-Hernandez has dark hair, brown eyes and moles below his left eye and to the left of his nose. He is 5 feet 8 inches tall, 150 pounds, and has scars across his back and on his left hand.
He may also be called Gilbert, Jorge Campos, Gilberto Hernandez-Sanchez, Gilberto Mercado-Hernandez or Gilberto Juarez.
He was living illegally in the United States at the time of the killings and may now be in Florida, Iowa or Mexico, police said.
Clearwater police ask anyone with information to call their tip line at (727) 562-4422. Tipsters can also remain anonymous by texting the letters "CWPD" with information to tip411 (847411) from their cellphones.
Danielle Paquette can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4224.