A great grandmother was killed just hours after celebrating her 93rd birthday with family by one of her daughter’s boyfriends who she’d previously helped out.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina and homicide detectives provided an update on Thursday afternoon regarding the murder of 93-year-old Dolores Padilla Marrero, who was found at the St. Joseph Garden Court retirement community on Monday.
Marrero, who was a devout Catholic, a kind person, and was “always willing to help others,” had previously provided aid to the man who is accused of killing her.
That man, 54-year-old Javier Rosado Martinez, was dating one of Marrero’s daughter’s, according to authorities.
Marrero had four children, 11 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren. According to her family, she had gone out of her way to provide a place to stay to Martinez.
On Sunday night, Marrero was dropped off around 8 p.m. by her daughter after celebrating her birthday.
Detectives say video surveillance shows Martinez arriving to the secure senior apartment living complex, which is located at 1515 N. Alafaya Road, that evening. He was not able to get into the facility until he was let in by another resident. During his remarks, Sheriff Mina reiterated the importance staying alert.
“Please remain vigilant, and be aware of your surroundings,” said Mina.
Homicide detectives, who would normally not be notified in instances when the deceased is elderly, were tipped notified by the responding uniformed patrol officers who noticed that elements in the room appeared “very suspicious.”
According to the medical coroner’s autopsy, Marrero was killed by strangulation and blunt force trauma to her torso.
In the room, detectives found a necklace medallion shaped like a horn that was concealed next to Marrero’s body. That horn, along with other elements in the room, were tied back to Martinez.
Law enforcement authorities say that Martinez, who is 5’5″ tall and weighs 290 pounds, was identified easily through his unique build. According to the daughter, he “always” wore the horn that was wrapped in the shirt next to Marrero’s body.
Martinez was arrested at a residence in Casselberry where multiple items were found and linked to the homicide. According to authorities, Martinez is a “moocher” and “transient” that would “go anywhere he could to get a shower or a place to eat.”
Detectives say he did not confess but “made some admissions,” claiming he blacked out from drugs, including possibly crystal meth. According to OCSO, the evidence recovered in the case has brought closure to the family for a horrific crime.