CLEARWATER — Ten years ago today, Isidro Perez and two roommates came home after working their construction jobs to find Isidro’s girlfriend and her 2-year-old son stabbed to death in the apartment they all shared.
Now, investigators are making a renewed effort to find the man they say killed Petra Martin, 31, and her son, Uriel: Gilberto Juarez-Hernandez, now 33.
“I just need that one tip from that one person that can get him arrested, so he can be made to answer for what he did, which was brutally murder an innocent mother and an innocent 2-year-old child,” said Christopher Lyons, a detective with the Clearwater Police Department. “I will look for him if it takes the rest of my career.”
Why Juarez-Hernandez killed the two, or how he knew Martin, remain mysteries.
At the time, Martin was a homemaker who was taking care of Uriel, who was in remission from cancer after having just completed a round of chemotherapy.
A bloody fingerprint gleaned from the apartment at 400 San Remo Ave. eventually tied Juarez-Hernandez to the slayings. The fingerprint was submitted into a fingerprint database after the bodies were found on July 19, 2003, but there wasn’t a match, Lyons said.
When Lyons resubmitted the fingerprint years later, there was a match with a fingerprint that Juarez-Hernandez had submitted after he was charged with fraud and driving with a suspended license in Iowa in 1999, Lyons said. Warrants charging Juarez-Hernandez with two counts of first-degree murder were issued last year.
The killer did not fatally stab another child in the apartment, an 8-month-old girl who was Perez’s and Martin’s daughter. Isidro Perez was given custody of the child.
Perez wasn’t the father of Uriel, but the boy’s biological father has long been eliminated as a suspect, Lyons said. He didn’t have much to do with the child after the child was born.
Lyons is also trying to get the word out on Juarez-Hernandez in the Des Moines, Iowa, area because he believes Juarez-Hernandez might be there. Lyons learned the suspect’s former sister-in-law and two brothers all live there.
Then again, he could be in Mexico, or in the Tampa Bay area, the detective said.
“It seems most likely he would be where the remainder of his family is, which is the most logical place to start looking,” Lyons said. “But at some point he was here. Somebody here may know ... where I can find him now.”
Lyons is also working with the U.S. Marshal’s Office on the chance Juarez-Hernandez has fled to Mexico, where he is from.
“All I need is that one person who has information,” Lyons said.
Roughly 20 leads have been exhausted, he said.
In his 1999 booking photograph from Iowa, Juarez-Hernandez is described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes and scars on his back, left hand and one of his left fingers. He also has unusual moles on his face.
Anyone with information on Juarez-Hernandez’s whereabouts is asked to call (727) 562-4422. Tipsters can also remain anonymous by texting the letters “CWPD” with information to tip411 (847411) from their cell phones.