Skip to main content

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

The 23-year-old man arrested in Ohio will be extradited to Minnesota.
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

hospital, emergency room

Driver, 15 years old, hurt when car collides with SUV

The road was wet at the time, the State Patrol said.

Tyler Wahl

Minnesotans have the Badgers back in the national spotlight

Three of Wisconsin's four leading scorers are from Minnesota.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano retires: Remembering his meteoric rise as a rookie

There was no one better than Liriano from mid-May to late-July in 2006.

kimmel morari screengrab collage

Watch: Jimmy Kimmel mocks men's sex aid made by MN company

"This is an app I won't be [down]loading," Kimmel said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 8.58.56 AM

Man hospitalized after snowmobile crash in Stearns County

The crash occurred east of State Highway 238 in Albany Township.


Indicators of COVID in wastewater skyrocketing in Twin Cities

Wastewater detection can serve as a predictor for rising and falling case levels.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Girl arrested for allegedly shooting her mother in northern MN

The incident occurred in Morcom Township Sunday afternoon.

voyageurs trail camera

Video: Voyageurs camera captures remarkable footage of wildlife trail

There were wolves, moose, bears, lynx, a fisher, marten and other animals.


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.

McKinley Phillips

Charges: Woodbury man killed wife while 6 kids were in the house, fled MN

The 39-year-old was arrested while fleeing on a Greyhound bus to Chicago.

Screen Shot 2021-08-03 at 7.50.23 AM

Charges: Witness thought Austin man was 'joking' before he killed woman

The criminal complaint details what may have led to the 20-year-old's death.

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.