“It was an open wound,” Soriano said, as he recalled the years he spent with his younger cousin, braiding her hair and playing with her, and when he took her to elementary school. “Minnie,” as she was known, was like a sister to him.
Soriano became emotional at times Tuesday as city officials announced they had finally found Minerals Soriano’s killer, and identified him as a former resident of the building where she lived.
“He has no criminal history in his entire 49 years,” his court-appointed attorney, Troy Smith, told CNN. “It’s shocking to say the least and he has maintained his innocence.”
For investigators, it took years of hard work to crack the case. The NYPD’s Bronx Homicide Squad began re-examining Minerliz’s case in February 2018 and gave CNN rare access to their efforts, including exclusive interviews with detectives and witnesses, a review of portions of the case file and scraps of evidence. access
What emerged was a case that showed how science and old-fashioned detective work could bring justice to a “sweet” 13-year-old girl who wrote poems about love, rainbows and stars in her journals. .
A family DNA match came back to the suspected father
What happened to the Minerals eluded both current and retired detectives. Over the years, NYPD investigators interviewed numerous witnesses, followed up on hundreds of leads, even collected DNA samples from more than a dozen possible suspects, before finally making a family DNA match. lead them to Martinez, said NYPD commanding officer Lt. Sean O’Toole. Bronx Homicide Squad.
New York State approved the use of family DNA in 2017.
The investigative tool allows law enforcement agencies to run DNA through a sophisticated software program to see if the DNA matches a male relative in a New York database who was involved in a crime. Convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
Authorities say the state was able to provide police with a familial DNA result by comparing DNA to a semen sample taken from Minerals’ sweatshirt, which he was wearing at the crime scene.
According to Deputy Chief Emmanuel Katranakis, who leads the forensic investigation division at the NYPD, it came back as a match to Martinez’s father, who was in the state’s DNA database for a previous conviction.
Katranakis said authorities were able to enter Martinez’s home after detectives legally collected an abandoned DNA sample, which resulted in a direct match to a sample taken from Mineralse’s clothing.