LAKELAND, Fla. — Alma Martinez picked up her three-year-old granddaughter, Analise, at the girl’s bus stop Wednesday afternoon. It’s normally her son’s favorite thing to do, but 16-year-old Marco Martinez disappeared on April 5th.
Kevin Martinez, Marco’s younger brother, remembers coming home to the bizarre scene: “So I came in the backyard. She was on the steps just crying and shaking. So I went inside and he wasn’t in there.”
No sign of struggle, or even evidence that he ran away. His bedroom is as he had left it. He didn’t even take his cash savings from his part-time busboy job at Fred’s Market on Harden Rd.
Kevin said his brother had a court appearance set for two days after he vanished. It was over driving without a license, but his family said the teen wasn’t nervous or scared about the situation.
The day of his disappearance, Alma called Marco after he picked up Analise from the bus stop. They agreed he would order pizza for dinner. Later, when she called her son again, she got his voicemail after a few rings. Two more times, and the phone went straight to voicemail.
It’s strange, Kevin says, that he’d just leave Analise all alone. “He loved her a lot,” Kevin said. “He wouldn’t call her his niece. He would call her his baby. Because I know that a lot of people know things and they just don’t want to say anything.”
Anyone with information is asked to the Polk County Sheriff’s Missing Persons Unit at (863) 534-0740. Calls after 5pm should go to (863) 533-0344.
At Kathleen High School, where the junior hasn’t been seen in over a month, some students told ABC Action News there are lots of rumors about Marco’s disappearance.
Stories or not, the Polk County Sheriff says he has no leads and wants to hear what’s being said.
“We know that someone knows something. They’ve got a missing link. They may think it’s a rumor, they may not think it’s true,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “But we want people to call us.”
Judd went on to say that the young man was busted for having marijuana once in the past, but he doesn’t believe that would be connected to Marco’s disappearance.
Kevin says his family’s praying more than they ever did before. Little Analise, he says, just thinks Marco’s been at work all this time.
Kevin’s begging for someone to come forward with answers about his big brother.
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