Family DNA links man to gruesome killing of teenager in 22-year-old Bronx murder case

With the help of family DNA, the New York Police Department (NYPD) appears to have just cracked a 22-year-old case involving the murder of a 13-year-old girl from the Bronx named Minerliz Soriano, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

The NYPD made the breakthrough in the case using family DNA for the first time in the history of the department.

The background

According to the Post, Soriano’s murder stretches back to early 1999. Her disappearance is believed to have occurred on Feb. 24th around 2:20 p.m. when Soriano was reportedly walking home from IS 135 on Wallace Avenue.

Roughly four days later, police found Soriano’s body in a co-op city dumpster, wrapped in a trash bag. After examining the teen girl’s body, it was determined that she had been sexually abused, and her cause of death was determined to have resulted from the compression of her throat.

However, NYPD detectives failed to make any meaningful progress toward finding Soriano’s killer, until now.

The breakthrough

The major break in the decades-old murder case came from the use of family DNA, a technology that the NYPD had never used before in locating a suspect.

From a sweater that Soriano was wearing when she was wrapped in a trash bag, the NYPD was able to extract DNA from a semen stain. That DNA was compared with samples in the New York State database of convicted offenders, and it led authorities to the deceased father of a man named Joseph Martinez.

At that point, the NYPD obtained a DNA specimen from Joseph Martinez, and it was a match, thereby linking Joseph Martinez to Soriano. Martinez, according to reports, lived in the same building as the girl’s family.

The suspect

Joseph Martinez, 49, is now in police custody, reports said. He was photographed walking from the 49th Precinct in the Bronx with a noticeable limp.

Notably, Martinez is actually a fairly well-known part of the local community, and residents of the area know him as “Jupiter Joe.”

According to reports, Martinez would give astronomy lessons on the sidewalks of New York City, and eerily enough, he can be seen in several YouTube videos discussing the moon and other space-related topics on the streets with young children.

Those who know Martinez were shocked to hear of the allegations he now faces. Martinez, as of this writing, has yet to comment on the developing situation.

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