Gage Park Family Massacre: Was Wrong Home Targeted?

Chicago police are considering the possibility that a slain family of six may have been targeted by mistake.

It's been nearly a month since since family members were found brutally killed in their Gage Park home and investigators are considering the possibility they may not have been the intended targets, Chicago police said Tuesday.

Detectives have been combing through hundreds of leads and all possible scenarios in the four weeks since the bodies were discovered inside a small brick house in the 5700 block of South California Avenue. Since day one, mourning relatives and community members have been asking: who would do this and why?

Chicago Police Interim Supt. John Escalante said Tuesday one of the working scenarios investigators are looking into is that the killer, or killers, hit the wrong home. Many houses look alike along 57th Street and California Avenue, a typically quiet neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side.

"It is possible that they targeted the wrong house, for whatever reasons, they were trying to get into a residence there," said Escalante.

Five of the six — 58-year-old Rosaura Martinez; her 60-year-old husband, Noe Martinez Sr.; their 38-year-old son, Noe Martinez Jr.; and the couple's grandchildren,13-year-old Leonardo Cruz and 10-year-old Alexis Cruz — died from stab wounds or blunt-force wounds, autopsies found.

The young children's mother, 32-year-old Maria Herminia Martinez, died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Investigators found no signs of forced entry and said all the doors were locked when they arrived. Escalante, however, said one theory — that of a murder-suicide — has been deemed implausible.

"Even though I can’t say 100 percent that we’ve ruled that out," Escalante explained, "it’s probably one of the most least likely scenarios."

Three types of knives or other bladed cutting instruments were used to carry out most of the killings, according to investigators, but those weapons were not at the crime scene. A rifle was found in the home but did not match the weapon used in the shooting death.

Authorities are still awaiting a detailed analysis and test results on evidence collected at the scene, and Escalante said the department will work tirelessly to get answers in the case.

"I'm still confident that we will get there at some point and we will be able to solve this case," Escalante said.

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