Charges: Man killed Minneapolis 19-year-old and fled to Ohio

The 23-year-old man arrested in Ohio will be extradited to Minnesota.
Author:
Publish date:
Screen Shot 2021-04-24 at 8.21.50 PM

A man arrested in Ohio has been charged for the murder of a 19-year-old Minneapolis woman. 

Police discovered the body of a Yadhira Romero Martinez during a welfare check at a residence on the 3000 block of 18th Avenue South last Friday, April 23. Police originally stated she died of "unnatural causes," though a criminal complaint reveals that she was found dead on a mattress with "apparent trauma to her body." 

Jose Daniel Cuenca-Zuniga, 23, of Minneapolis, was detained in Ohio the day Martinez was found dead and he is now being held on $1 million bail, with his extradition to Minnesota pending. 

Prosecutors submitted a second-degree murder charge in Hennepin County District Court Wednesday morning, having amended the original criminal complaint that charged him with aiding and abetting and offender – a charge that helped activate a nationwide warrant for his arrest. 

Cuenca-Zuniga fled to Ohio, charges say

The person who called police to conduct a welfare check on Martinez said she witnessed Cuenca-Zuniga leave the room he rents on the morning of April 23. She said she could see the feet of a woman on a mattress on the floor of the room, with Cuenca-Zuniga telling the witness that the woman in his room "had too much to drink" and she was "passed out." 

The witness said Cuenca-Zuniga then locked his door and left. The witness went to check on Martinez at 12:30 p.m. the same day, and when no one answered the door she called for a welfare check. Minneapolis Fire Department conducted the welfare check and found Martinez dead. 

According to a criminal complaint, a medical examiner ruled that Martinez died of homicide from "multiple traumatic injuries."

Cuenca-Zuniga's landlord told police that she suspected something unusual was going on with him so she recorded video on her phone of Cuenca-Zuniga getting into a car with Minnesota license plates and leaving Friday morning.

Cellphone data helped police locate him in Ohio later that night, and he was stopped by Ohio State Highway Patrol driving a vehicle that matched the description of the one he left Minnesota in. 

Surveillance video from a neighboring residence showed Martinez and Cuenca-Zuniga arriving at his rental property just after 6 p.m. Thursday, April 22. Cuenca-Zuniga is then seen leaving the rental the next morning, first at 9:27 a.m. and then again at 10:18 a.m. 

In a GoFundMe campaign created to help cover funeral expenses for Martinez, it says that Martinez was last seen Thursday getting into a ride-share from work. Police have said that there was no link between a ride-share and her death.

The GoFundMe notes that Martinez was born in the U.S. but moved to Mexico with her parents, where she lived most of her life before moving to Minnesota in January "in hopes of a better future and opportunity."

Next Up

boys volleyball

Girls wrestling sanctioned as MSHSL activity; boys volleyball 2 votes shy

There will be section and state tournaments for girls-only wrestling next school year.

P.J. Fleck

Gopher players defend PJ Fleck after WCCO-TV report

"The public has made our statement," a U of M spokesperson said.

vaccine, covid

Twin Cities police investigating COVID vaccine thefts in viral videos

Videos of both incidents were recorded and shared online.

Guthrie theater

Guthrie to reopen to the public in July, shows resume this fall

The theater has been closed to the public for more than a year.

Target - good and gather plant based

Target is launching more than 30 new plant-based grocery products

All are part of the company's hit Good & Gather brand.

Roller Garden

Roller Garden to auction off skates, signs, arcade games and more

Many items from the beloved Roller Garden will be up for auction next month.

joseph ness booking photo

Charges: Chanhassen man fired hundreds of rounds, killing his sister

Six rifles, including AR-15 and AK-47 variants, were found inside the home.

police lights

Woman robbed and assaulted at gunpoint in Waite Park, police say

The incident occurred on Sunday at around 11:30 p.m.

pixabay - marijuana cannabis

Marijuana legalization: Minnesota House to vote Thursday

The "historic" vote on the House floor is set for Thursday afternoon.

Related

Screen Shot 2021-04-24 at 8.21.50 PM

Vigil held for 19-year-old woman killed in Minneapolis

Yadhira Romero Martínez has been identified as the victim of a killing in Minneapolis Friday afternoon.

Jason Mesich

Charges: Bloomington man killed wife, turned gun on neighbors

The 12-year-old girl was holding a 1-year-old when she was shot, a GoFundMe explains.

Steven Buford

Man, 21, charged with killing West St. Paul woman in front of 3 kids

The 21-year-old's relationship to the victim isn't defined in the charging document.

Jordan Jefferson

Robbinsdale man guilty of killing mother-of-two in north Minneapolis

The 30-year-old was found guilty by a jury in Hennepin County District Court.

police tape, crime scene

Charges: Minneapolis man beat his girlfriend to death, fled to Illinois

The incident happened on Nov. 17, 2020. He was arrested this month in Illinois.

Angelo Borreson

Charges: Man killed woman after she told him to hurry up

The deadly incident happened on New Year's Day morning.