WARNING: Details in this story are disturbing and may be difficult to read for some viewers.
In the final moments before a Gage Park family of six were massacred in their bungalow on Chicago’s Southwest Side, they fed and spent time with their alleged killers.
In court Friday, prosecutors revealed the horrific moments that led to the gruesome killings in February, which rocked the Chicago area and remained a mystery for months.
Authorities have charged a relative of the family, 22-year-old Diego Uribe Cruz, and his 19-year-old girlfriend, Jafeth Ramos, each with six counts of first-degree murder. They were both ordered held without bail Friday as the disturbing details behind what happened on that quiet city street were detailed minute by minute.
The last time anyone in the Martinez family was seen alive or heard from was at 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 2, when Noe Martinez Sr., 62, returned home from purchasing tamales and hot chocolate. A cooler with those tamales and a tray of cups was found next to his body two days later inside the home in the 5700 block of South California, Cook County prosecutors said.
Scattered around him were the bodies of his wife, 58-year-old Rossaura Martinez; his son, 38-year-old Noe Martinez Jr.; his daughter, 32-year-old Maria Martinez; and two grandchildren — 10-year-old Alexis Cruz and 13-year-old Leonardo Cruz. All were either stabbed to death, beaten or shot.
According to a statement Ramos allegedly gave to police following her arrest, she and Uribe Cruz, who is the nephew of Maria Martinez’s ex-husband, had gone to the house with plans to rob the family. She claimed Uribe Cruz was prepared to kill the family in order to get money.
Uribe Cruz allegedly told police he “had a lot of anger with Maria Martinez over how she treated his uncle.” He also admitted to the killings, officials said.
Both suspects were appointed a public defender. They are scheduled to appear in court again May 26.
'I Just Want to Live'
Once inside the home, the couple hung out with family members and had something to eat, prosecutors said.
Shortly thereafter, prosecutors said Uribe Cruz asked Maria Martinez to go upstairs so the two could talk. It was then, prosecutors claim, that he threatened Maria Martinez with a gun and a physical altercation ensued, leading him to shoot her several times in the head.
Noe Martinez Jr. climbed the stairs after hearing the gunshots and was beaten, punched and choked by Uribe Cruz, officials said.
Rossaura Martinez then climbed the stairs and threatened to call police before she was allegedly knocked down the steps and lost consciousness.
After that, prosecutors claim the couple spoke downstairs with the two young boys. Prosecutors said Uribe Cruz, armed with multiple kitchen knives, stabbed Rossaura Martinez several times before the boys agreed to show the couple where some money was located.
The couple allegedly stole cash, change, jewelry, a piggy bank with money in it and an Xbox 1.
That’s when Ramos claims Uribe Cruz took Alexis Cruz to the basement, where his brother heard him scream. Prosecutors say Ramos told police Uribe Cruz returned from the basement alone, then stabbed Leonardo Cruz to death as he pleaded for his life, crying "Please no, please don't. I just want to live."
It was then that Noe Martinez Sr. arrived home from purchasing the tamales and hot chocolate.
Prosecutors say Uribe Cruz met him at the door, grabbed him and stabbed him as Noe Martinez Sr. cried out, asking, “Why are you killing me? I don’t owe you anything.” Uribe Cruz then stole Noe Martinez Sr.’s wallet and the couple cleaned up the blood and wiped down door knobs before fleeing.
“Ramos said that she did this because she did not want the police to take Defendant Cruz away from her,” a proffer from court read.
The couple allegedly disposed of the gun, pawned the jewelry and spent some of the money on milk and diapers for their child.
Uribe Cruz was identified as a suspect after his DNA was found at the scene and his cell phone indicated he was near the scene at the time of the murders, police said.
"In my 28 years, I haven’t seen a case that has hit so close to home for myself and so many others in this department than what was discovered on that cold Thursday afternoon in February," Supt. Eddie Johnson said in announcing the couple's charges Thursday.