Date: October 6, 2004 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Michal Shanley, 534-6631 or pager 981-2375

Grand Jury Indicts Edward Romeo for Murder of Racheal Ann Martina

A Polk County grand jury handed down an indictment today (Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2004) charging Edward Romeo, DOB 2/1/78, with First Degree Murder in the homicide of Racheal Martina, who was 16 years old when she first disappeared in 1999.

Romeo currently is housed in the Polk County Jail on murder charges for shooting and killing his brother, Robert Romeo, in August of 2004.  He now will face an additional First Degree Murder charge for the strangling death of Martina.

Martina, a troubled 16-year-old, disappeared from the Lakeland office of DCF in March of 1999. Following the arrest of Romeo for the shooting death of his brother in August of this year, witnesses came forward indicating that Romeo had killed Martina and buried her body in the back yard of the Romeo residence located on Lake Luther Road in North Lakeland. During the investigation, detectives learned that Romeo had taken a ligature and placed it around Martina's neck, strangling her to death.

Homicide detectives executed a search warrant at the Lake Luther Road residence on Sept. 21, 2004, and the skeletal remains of Martina were unearthed in the yard the fourth day of the search.

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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