South Bay News

Missing mother of Iraq vet from Gilroy found dead

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gilroy police say a body found Thursday morning in a rural area of San Benito County is that of Martha Gutierrez. She had been missing since the time her adult son killed her 11-year-old daughter then killed himself.

You can only imagine the agony that the Gutierrez family has been going through since this tragedy unfolded Wednesday of last week. With every passing day, hope was diminishing that Martha would be found alive.

The spot where her body was found is just a few feet from heavily-travelled Highway 156. Police identified her from a photo. She had been shot, consistent with evidence of blood found in her son's car. Despite days of searching in remote areas, Gilroy police said they found evidence that led them to her body. "The review of forensic evidence that was gathered at the apartment and the car on the night of the incident has been under continuous review," said Gilroy police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao. "There was a lot of evidence and that's one of the things that prompted us to this location yesterday, was that review of forensic evidence."

The body of Martha Gutierrez was discovered by a local resident just before 10 a.m. Thursday. Her brother and other family members raced to the scene after police told them the news. Faustino Gutierrez, her brother, said the most important thing for him was to find his sister. He expressed thanks to the police and volunteers who spent the past week searching for her. "We kind of knew she wasn't going to be alive, but yeah, we're happy they found her body. She can rest in peace now and bury her with her kids," Abel's niece Kristell Gutierrez told ABC7.

Investigators still need to piece together details of how Martha Gutierrez died and where it happened. On March 14, they responded to the family apartment on Kern Avenue in Gilroy, discovering two bodies. One was Martha's 27-year-old son Abel. The other was his 11-year-old sister. Police said it was a murder-suicide. Abel Gutierrez, an Iraq War veteran, was said to be dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. "We hope to find out answers, but we're pretty sure that's not going to happen," Kristell said.

While the body of Martha Gutierrez was discovered in San Benito County, the Gilroy Police Department will continue to handle the case. The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office will handle an autopsy. The family said it is too soon to know about services.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
gilroy, murder, iraq war, missing person, south bay news, david louie
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