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Suspect Indicted In 1986 Murder Of Inwood Restaurateur

Justo Santos Was Tracked Down By Victim's Daughter
Accused killer Justo Santos was brought back to New York in handcuffs on Friday night. (Credit CBS 2)

Accused killer Justo Santos was brought back to New York in handcuffs on Friday night. (Credit CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect was formally indicted Monday in the murder of an Upper Manhattan restaurant owner more than a quarter century ago.

Justo Santos, 43, was indicted Monday in the 1986 fatal shooting of Jose Martinez, outside the Rincon Dominican Restaurant in Inwood, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced Monday.

Prosecutors said on Nov. 22, 1986, Martinez was working at his restaurant when Santos and two other men stormed in at 9 p.m. They made disrespectful comments to waitresses and harassed customers, to the point where Martinez and his kitchen staff forced them out of the restaurant.

There, the disagreement became physical. Santos allegedly pulled a revolver and fired two or three times at Martinez and the cook for the restaurant.

Martinez was wounded in the chest, and a bullet pierced his heart and lung. He was pronounced dead at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, prosecutors said.

Santos was identified as a suspect several weeks after the shooting, but by then, he had fled to the Dominican Republic, prosecutors said.

He was recently found to be living in Miami, prosecutors said. He was tracked down by Martinez’s daughter, who had spent years searching the Internet.

“I just couldn’t keep living my life knowing I couldn’t do the most possible to help this, and I knew if no one had done it for me I would just have to do it myself,” Joselyn Martinez said last week.

For the past six years, Joselyn Martinez has played detective — searching the Internet, combing through Facebook, MySpace and other websites for any sign of Santos. She had no idea just how much information she had collected over the years about her father’s killer until she brought it to detectives at the 34th Precinct.

The information Martinez gave detectives led them to Santos in Florida, where he was arrested last Thursday. He was be extradited back to New York on Friday.

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