Police have made a discovery that gives a grieving family a sense of closure.
Janet Griffey says her sister, Wendy Martinez, was the life of the party. "Singing was her passion. She loved to sing."
On the night of December 3, 2009 that party came to an end. It was the last time they ever saw Martinez.
They were celebrating her birthday at a dance club on the city's Northeast side. "We called it a night,” Griffey says. “She didn't. She stayed behind which was nothing out of the ordinary."
Martinez, who lived with Griffey at the time, never came home. "Years passed and years passed. We had nothing. No clue, nothing. She just disappeared." Griffey would also get monthly calls from detectives; calls that were not easy to take. "They were either going to tell you that we found your sister, or we haven't found her," said Griffey.
Last Thursday, detectives told her that Martinez’s DNA matched remains found on Brooks City Base. It wasn't the outcome the family was hoping for, but Griffey tries to remain positive. "Now there is closure, and that was the hardest part--not knowing what happened to her."
The singing, dancing, vibrant young woman may be gone, but she didn't leave this world without leaving something beautiful behind: her now 13-year-old daughter Ariana. "That's the gift that she left, that she left us is her,” Griffey says. “To be able to have a piece of her, and her be active in our lives and us be active in her life."
The family says detectives told them this is now a homicide investigation. We reached out to SAPD to confirm the family's account but have yet to hear back. But Griffey says she's able to move on now that she has some answers. "The closure I needed was to know if she was here. If she was here or not here. She's obviously not here with us anymore," she said.
Not here physically, but still here in spirit.