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Police put focus on July slayings

(ran SS edition of Metro & State)

They've canvassed the neighborhood where Petra Martinez lived, interviewed all her known associates and spent a week in her native Hidalgo, Mexico.

But still, a half-year after Martinez, 31, and her 2-year-old son, Uriel Martin, were found stabbed to death in their home, police detectives have no promising angles to pursue.

"All the hottest leads are taken care of," said homicide Detective James Kleinsorge, who is working almost full time on the case. "Right now we don't have any specific leads."

So this week, Clearwater police are aiming a spotlight on the case, pleading with the community for leads in the brutal July 2003 slayings.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the department passed out a new flier to area businesses _ particularly those that target the Hispanic community _ hoping that someone will come forward with information that will help solve the case.

Police also plan to send a stack of the yellow fliers, written in Spanish and English, to be posted in Martinez's hometown of Tasquillo, an area within Hidalgo, a state in southeast Mexico.

They're just hoping that another reminder of the unsolved double homicide will provoke anyone with any information to come forth, Kleinsorge said.

On a hot Saturday last July, the mother and son were found stabbed to death in their home on San Remo Avenue near the corner of San Juan Street. Police think the killer used a knife to strike Martinez, who was known to her family as Petra Corona Martin, several times and the baby just once. Her month-old daughter also was home, but was unharmed.

They were found by Martinez's live-in boyfriend, Isidro Perez, when he returned home from work that afternoon. Police said yesterday that Perez, who is the father of the girl, and two other male roommates have cooperated with their investigation, answering questions and submitting physical evidence.

Police have divulged little information about the case. Over the past six months, they have interviewed more than 50 of Martinez's known family, friends and associates and have been able to eliminate some unnamed suspects. Many of the interviews have been done through a Spanish-English translator, Kleinsorge said.

Next month a profiler from the state Department of Law Enforcement will review the investigation and create a profile of particular behavioral traits of a likely suspect.

One thing they are sure of, Kleinsorge said, is that the killer is not a serial killer, and Martinez's neighbors should not worry about their safety.

It's Kleinsorge's only open homicide case, and he says he is hopeful.

"I'm confident that ultimately there will be an arrest," he said.