Man wanted in 2 Polk County homicides taken into custody

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A man who was wanted in connection with the deaths of a 20-year-old missing woman and a person at a homeless camp in November has been taken into custody, according to officials.

Enrique Martinez, 26, was taken into custody on Tuesday, officials said.

Deputies were following up on leads when they saw Martinez “casually” walking down the sidewalk at about 4 p.m. north of Eagle Lake, Judd said. He was found in the area of Cooley Road and Winter Lake Road.

Neighbors News Channel 8 spoke with said they were confused by the huge police presence.

“I saw a lot of cops, a lot of police cars, I was wondering…I thought there was an event there,” Felicita Martell said.

“Detectives who were stalking him hard were shocked that all of the sudden, here he appears just wandering down the sidewalk,” Judd said.

Martinez ran into a wooded area, where deputies had a perimeter set up. He came out of the wooded area and gave up.

“We took him into custody peacefully, which was another shock for us,” Judd said. “We certainly anticipated that he wouldn’t go that easily.”

Judd said he approached Martinez in the back of a patrol car, where Martinez said he gave himself up.

“Well that’s a pretty easy choice when you’re surrounded by 100 deputy sheriffs with guns,” Judd said.

Detectives made several arrests of people who helped him evade capture, Judd said.

Martinez is a suspect in the death of 20-year-old Sierra Hernandez, who was reported missing last week. Detectives believe there are other people involved.

Martinez also had an existing warrant for first-degree murder in connection with a deadly shooting at a homeless camp where he was living in November.

Martinez has previously faced 13 felonies and 15 misdemeanors, Judd said. He spent five years in state prison for stabbing an ex-girlfriend in the face. His most recent arrest was in April 2023.

The community hopes this is one step closer to justice for Hernandez’s family.

“I feel sorry for her parents and for her family members, because I know I would feel terrible,” Martell said.

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