Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police identify body as missing Tampa man

Bystanders outside the Tampa home of Emilio Martinez-Rodriguez on Thursday watch through a window as a newscast announces the discovery of a body, believed to be his, discovered off of Orient Road north of Sligh Avenue. Martinez-Rodriguez, whose body was identified by the medical examiner Friday, disappeared Dec. 15 while picking up Chinese food.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Bystanders outside the Tampa home of Emilio Martinez-Rodriguez on Thursday watch through a window as a newscast announces the discovery of a body, believed to be his, discovered off of Orient Road north of Sligh Avenue. Martinez-Rodriguez, whose body was identified by the medical examiner Friday, disappeared Dec. 15 while picking up Chinese food.

TAMPA — Kacee Martinez worried about the baby inside her.

Fifteen weeks pregnant, she had spent days awaiting word about her husband, Emilio, who disappeared Dec. 15 while picking up Chinese food.

Her fears were confirmed on Thursday, when Tampa police officers told her they had found a body and the car he was driving. Anxious about the effects on her pregnancy, she went to St. Joseph's Women's Hospital for a checkup.

There, through an ultrasound, she received news that made her happy. "She found out it is a boy," said her father, Andy Urso. "It's what he wanted. She thought it was divine."

On Friday, Urso told his daughter's story from the couple's front porch in central Tampa while Kacee remained in the house, consoled by friends and relatives.

It was a lot to process, he said. There is the baby to prepare for, the Christmas holiday and a memorial service that will likely take place early next week at Grace Family Church in Lutz.

And, in addition to the family's grief, there is a renewed desire to find out how 34-year-old Emilio Martinez-Rodriguez died, and why.

Urso said the police did not give any details, not even cause of death.

"That is certainly okay with us," he said. "We would not want anything to curtail their investigation. We don't want to mess that up."

Police officials would not comment Friday, issuing only a short statement saying that the medical examiner had used X-rays to confirm the body found outside a mosque off Sligh Avenue was Martinez-Rodriguez. A maintenance man for the mosque found Martinez-Rodriguez's car, which appeared to have been doused with bleach.

While Martinez-Rodriguez never made it back inside his W Dallas Avenue home, a neighbor had seen a suspicious person on their quiet street the night he disappeared. A neighbor's surveillance video showed Martinez-Rodriguez's gray Toyota Camry heading toward the house. And someone left Kacee's favorite brand of root beer at the door.

Urso said he cannot imagine why anyone would want to hurt his son-in-law, a military veteran who worked as a trucking company supervisor.

He suspects Martinez-Rodriguez got out of the car and was then forced back inside at gunpoint.

"It must be someone who wanted to hurt him for whatever reason," he said.

But who? And why?

"We had asked about associates," Urso said. "We did not come up with anything. We've asked and the police have asked."

The family is now hoping someone will come forward who can help solve the mystery. They are reassured by the high level of public interest when Martinez-Rodriguez was missing.

"We really hope the buzz gets out," Urso said. "We'll find out who did this. We have to be patient and go through the steps that get this person caught."

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 624-2739 or sokol@sptimes.com.

Information needed

Anyone with information about the disappearance of Emilio Martinez-Rodriguez can call Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) or report it online at crimestopperstb.com.

Police identify body as missing Tampa man 12/24/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 24, 2010 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay child welfare agencies get additional state funding, plan to hire more social workers

    News

    TAMPA — Buoyed by the award of an additional $3 million in state funding, Eckerd Kids plans to hire more social workers to ease the strain on Hillsborough County's overburdened child welfare system.

    The child welfare system in Hillsborough County will get an additional $3 million in funding for the upcoming fiscal  year beginning July 1, according to Eckerd Kids, the agency contracted to run the system by the state.
  2. Bill Nelson knocks Rick Scott over Senate health bill

    Blogs

    Sen. Bill Nelson attacked Gov. Rick Scott, his likely 2018 rival, over today's trip to Washington.

  3. For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Hechavarria active, Robertson sent down

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:26: And the Rays indeed have Hechavarria at SS and Beckham at 2B. Also, with no DH Dickerson is in left.

    Rays lineup:
    Smith cf,
    Dickerson lf,
    Longoria 3b,
    Morrison 1b,
    Souza rf,
    Ramos c,
    Beckham 2b,
    Hechavarria ss,
    Cobb p

    The stellar view from the press box at PNC Park.
  4. LaVar Ball appears at WWE event, son LaMelo uses slur

    Blogs

    LOS ANGELES  -- LaVar Ball has brought his Big Baller Brand from the basketball court to the wrestling ring. 
    The outspoken father of NBA Draft No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball showed up with the newly-minted Los Angeles Laker and another son, 15-year-old son LaMelo, for a live segment on Monday's "WWE …

    LaVar Ball took off his shirt during a WWE broadcast.
  5. Facing defections, Senate GOP leaders delay health care vote

    National

    WASHINGTON — In a bruising setback, Senate Republican leaders are delaying a vote on their prized health care bill until after the July 4 recess, forced to retreat by a GOP rebellion that left them lacking enough votes to even begin debating the legislation, two sources said Tuesday.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, talks with his chief of staff Sharon Soderstrom, right, and communications staff director Antonia Ferrier, left, as they walk to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017. Senate Republicans unveil a revised health care bill in hopes of securing support from wavering GOP lawmakers, including one who calls the drive to whip his party's bill through the Senate this week "a little offensive." [Associated Press]