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The People's Flatline


Dear Source:
On April 7, 2004 Francisco Martinez was brutally gunned down as he was finishing up his catch from the sea. He left behind a loving family and a daughter, whom he was so eagerly waiting to see but will never have the chance to meet. It is now Feb. 24, 2006, and I still have had no closure on this case.
I have had the illustrious VIPD tell me that at one point they had made an arrest, but they are no closer than when they were killed back in April. Now last night on a talk show on Channel 12, after trying for months to get in touch with the Commissioner himself to get some idea of the progress of the case, he adds further insult to injury to tell me that I have been contacted by these phantom grief counselors, who are supposed to deal with the survivors of murder victims. I have had Sgt. Hannah be flat out RUDE to me to say 'Why is she always calling. When we find out something we will let her know!' To now have Commissioner Lewis lie and say that he and his "counselors" have been in contact with me. Well let me set the record straight.
I have been the one calling the police department to find out where the case is going. NOT the police department. Except initially when I went to make a statement the day after he died and two very brief follow-ups from Lt. Hassell, I have had NO calls from the VIPD letting me know what is going on. As a matter of fact, I am being told that I can't be told anything over the phone, by one officer, or I am being told by Chief of Police Novelle Francis that arrests have been made, then being told by Lt. Bennerson that no progress has been made or they are creeping in the investigation. ALL OF WHICH IS UNACCEPTABLE!! I do know that he was shot with what I am being told was a marshal's shotgun that was stolen but never recovered. I am being told that the same gun has been used in several other homicides. I am being told that the case is being handled out of Florida and that it may have ties to Officer Chapman's murder. If that is the case, then why am I not seeing any arrests in Francisco Martinez's case?!? Yet when I open the newspaper, I am seeing murders of Caucasians and tourists being solved at break neck speed! I have to call it like I see it, but is there some sort of classism and racism going on with the VIPD?!? Is it because Francisco Martinez was a fisherman and not of the fairer skin hue that his children and I have to suffer the indignity of not knowing what happened to him? If we had more money would the case have moved a bit quicker? Had he been a tourist visiting here would his case have been solved all the more faster? Had he been white, would that have made a difference in the handling of his case? With more care and less conflicting statements being given to me about what is going on with the case?
My youngest daughter will never know her father. I mark the time since his death by her birthday. She was born two months after he died. What do I tell her when one day she asks what happened to her father? Will we ever be able to have closure on this case so that we can properly grieve and re-enter the world of the living? Commissioner Lewis, shame on you for making my family's grief all the more unbearable by lying about grief counselors contacting me. Shame on you for making the grief all the more unbearable by your department not being able to give me a straight answer when I ask for it. Shame on you for having inconsiderate, heartless police officers deal with me when all I want to know is why was my best fried, my husband, a father, murdered, shot to death with a shotgun and high caliber gun and still be waiting two years later to see if the investigation has moved forward a centimeter. The people's pulse is now a flatline and you are holding the lethal injection.
Yoki Hanley
St. Croix

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