DNA might help some cold cases, but sometimes the best chance police and family members have in solving a decades-old mystery is when someone with information comes forward.
The case of 23-year-old Brenda Martinez has gone unsolved since the day she disappeared -- just before Christmas, 1988, in Flint, Michigan, after she walked to a pay phone on Fenton and West Atherton Roads, and never returned.
Her body was discovered on January 5, 1989, near Tobaggan Hill in Holloway Regional Park. Her cause of death was not revealed, but her death has been labeled a homicide.
Brenda also used her maiden name, Harvey. She left behind a daughter, six-year-old Stephanie Bellanca.
The law enforcement agencies investigating the case are the Michigan State Police and the Richmond Township Police.
I learned about this unsolved murder from Vidster, the blogger behind "Defrosting Cold Cases."
In March 2011, The Flint Journal published "Tip energizes probe of 1980s slaying of 23-year-old Brenda Martinez," written by Khalil AlHajal. DNA is being analyzed and people are being re-interviewed. Stephanie Bellanca, now 28, is still hoping for a break in the case, which is being handled by the Michigan State Police/Flint PD Violent Crime Task Force, Cold Case Office.
Anyone with information concerning the death of Brenda Martinez can call Flint Area Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-422-JAIL or leave a web tip. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.