Surviving Murder Blog

Our case remains unsolved 26 years and counting

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A prayer for you

I said a prayer for you today. I was hunched over a microscope looking at the cells your body makes to keep you healthy. I am not a doctor; I am not trained to diagnose the specifics of what is happening in your body. I am a medical technologist; one of the things I am trained to do is to look at those cells your body created and determine if they are maturing normally.IMAG1292-1-1

Looking at your cells I said a prayer hoping I was wrong, you have no history of illness outside of a visit here and there for minor things. I sent your specimen on to a pathologist; they are trained to tell me when I am wrong. I do not know what they will say, but I prayed today they prove me wrong.

You are not just a number, or a smear of blood on glass. You are the clerk at the checkout, the postal worker that delivers my mail. You are the mother of three that lives down the road; you are the driver of the bus that brings my child home safely every day. I said a prayer for you today; when the phlebotomist or nurse drew your blood you had no idea where it would go. It came to me and when I looked through the microscope; I said a prayer for you today.


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The Gist

Tip energizes probe of 1980s slaying of 23-year-old Brenda Martinez
Published: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 8:30 PM Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011, 9:25 AM

Khalil AlHajal | The Flint Journal By Khalil AlHajal | The Flint Journal

RICHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Michigan — Stephanie Bellanca was only 6 years old when her mother went missing in 1988.

But she remembers. So do police.
Brenda Martinez with her daughter Stephanie Bellanca in this 1984 photo. Brenda Martinez was only 23 when she disappeared from her Flint home just before Christmas that year. Police said then that she went to use a pay phone at Fenton and West Atherton roads and did not return.

Her snow-covered, frozen body was found near Tobaggan Hill in Holloway Reservoir Regional Park on Jan. 5, 1989. Police did not disclose a cause of death but said it was a homicide.

Martinez, who also used her maiden name of Harvey, disappeared on Dec. 22, 1988 after she said she was going to use a pay phone at Fenton and West Atherton roads in Flint.

No one was charged in Martinez’s slaying.

Now, Richfield Township police and other area agencies are questioning people and retesting physical evidence in the case after a fresh tip came in through the state police post in Flint.

“For a long time, it was very hard for me to deal with the whole situation,” said Bellanca, now 28. “More recently, I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to deal with that frustration and anger. But it would mean a lot to my family to know that they were still looking and still care and to know that police are still looking for people.”

State police Detective Joe Jones wouldn’t specify what kind of tip came in, but he said DNA evidence has been sent to a lab and people are being re-interviewed.

“It’s nice to have something tangible to work off of,” Jones said. “We’re still following up leads, people who may have had contact with her back then. We have some people of interest that we’re looking at.”

Bellanca, who now lives in Mount Pleasant, doesn’t remember the exact moment she found out her mother was gone.

“I remember that she wasn’t there,” she said. “And I moved to Cheboygan with my great-aunt.

“It’s something that we think about every year, especially around Christmas.”

When she was 20, she contacted a Richfield Township detective, “to let them know that we’re still here and we’re still curious.”

“They drove up here, and they spoke with me for a few hours and let me know what was going on,” she said. “They hadn’t had any breaks or anything in the case, but they were very kind and let me know they were doing everything that they could.”

Now that there has been a new development in the case, Bellanca hopes someone else will come forward with more information.

With or without closure in the case, Bellanca said she’ll always have faint memories of her mother to hold on to.

“We used to sing and dance to the radio and do the normal stuff that moms and daughters do,” she said. “She was a lot of fun. We had fun. And she was just a beautiful person. …

“If somebody would come forward, that would be amazing — to let people know that we still know and we’re looking and we’re not going to stop.”

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This is the basic info about my mothers case, I am moving from my previous blog site to here so bare with me while the transition is underway.


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I Think I May Be a Goat

        One of the great things about chronic pain is it distracts you when it flares up.  Your brain is so focused on keeping you from doing any movement that makes the pain worse, or on trying to ignore the stabbing, searing burn, and sharp undulating pangs in your muscles that goes away almost never.  Yet it serves to drown out the rest of the pain anywhere else in your body or mind for that matter.  However it also means you spend your life on the sidelines, outside looking in because it hurts to crawl around, or wrestle, it’s hard to focus on creative ways to get your child to learn and grow intellectually. good-shepherd1

           It can all be so overwhelming that people not directly in contact with you on a daily basis go on largely unnoticed.  So when you get the message that a friend is sick or gone on to glory, though not surprised in some cases, you still feel guilty.  For not trying harder to get a hold of them and just assuming that they’ll get that voice, text, e-mail or Facebook msg.  Surely they’ll understand that you were in pain, tired and distracted that life is nothing but a lack of time to complete X, Y, Z then if all your stuff is done you can have that chance to call.  But the initial tasks end up growing exponentially within hours and the next day you gotta contend with all the other letters of the alphabet and what you didn’t get done in the first place (referring back to X, Y, and Z).  In the end it all culminates into sucking at life in any given situation thereafter.

It is at these times when you finally humble yourself and ask some divine intervention.  God doesn’t barter and yet the prayers end up sounding like a sketchy contract you created and hope no one calls you out on.  Pleading your case, asking him for his help while attempting to justify your blatant disregard for his plan for you out of hopes that maybe he’s forgotten.  He already knows you were outside looking in and why.  How you busied yourself instead of letting go and following that tug on your heart.  Today is what we have been given, tomorrow is unknown.

          A lot of things can distract and rope us in, but at the end of the day can you be proud of the priorities you set?  I know most days what rules my life and it isn’t the priorities of one who lives the call.  But hopefully I get a chance to try again tomorrow, and will be reminded not to blink, or take the day for granted.  Yes perhaps I will; should tomorrow come that is.

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 

Matthew 25:31-40