DNA links Bronx man to unsolved murder of 13-year-old girl more than two decades ago

Suspect Joseph Martinez is walked out of the 49th Precinct in the Bronx on Nov. 29, 2021.
Photo by Adrian Childress

Detectives in the Bronx nabbed the suspect Monday connected to a 22-year-old murder case involving the death of a 13-year-old girl in Co-Op City.

Forty-nine-year-old Joseph Martinez was cuffed after new DNA evidence led NYPD detectives to link him to the murder of Minerliz Soriano. The 13-year-old girl’s body was found wrapped in a plastic bag and left in a dumpster behind a video store in Co-op City in February of 1999, where the case soon grew cold, a source close to the investigation told amNewYork Metro.

Martinez was charged Monday with with two counts of second-degree murder for the brutal killing and remained silent with his head down as officers escorted him from the 49th Precinct in the northeastern Bronx on Nov. 29.

NYPD sources explained that the case remained cold until 2011 when the slaying reopened and credits the leap in DNA technology over the past 20 years as instrumental in bringing the alleged killer to justice.

Minerliz Soriano was last seen by her family when she left her Bronx apartment on Feb. 24 to catch a bus to school but she never arrived. Her body was found less than one week later.

The NYPD hopes this arrest will bring a small measure of closure and comfort for the family.

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