The following is a personal story from a local young woman who has come forward to share her family’s experience with the man charged with the domestic violence homicide of Selena Thomas in Canyon County in August of 2014.
Alfredo Martinez used to date my older sister. She is 8 years older than me and they dated about 20 years ago when my sister was in high school. He took my sister to her senior prom. And then my sister moved in with him. And then we stopped hearing from her.
I don’t remember a lot from this time, I was in third grade or so. I remember being scared for my sister. I remember my parents telling us that he was hitting my sister but we didn’t know where she was. All we knew is that they were living somewhere outside of Boise. Alfredo took the phone off of the wall so my sister couldn’t call home, he took her car, he made sure that she had no way of reaching her family for help. I remember thinking how it was my fault that we couldn’t find my sister because I was the only person in my family that had ever seen where he lived (my sister took me there with her one day before she moved in with him) and I couldn’t remember where it was. I remember thinking every single night that I would never see my sister again because I thought he was going to kill my sister. I would stay up nights trying to remember where he lived so much that the little details I remember at that time are still burned into my brain and I can see his house, the front door, the living room, the street.
My sister is the lucky one, and I write this with a lump in my throat. She was finally able to escape him one day while they stopped at a gas station to put fuel into their car. He left the keys in the car when he went inside to pay and my sister took her chance to leave. She left him at the gas station and went to my grandparent’s house. She called us too afraid to come home because she didn’t want him to come find her there.
My heart aches for Selena and her family. It hurts to think that this person has been hurting women for at least the 20 years since I first knew of him hitting my sister. I can’t help but to feel guilty that he was allowed to take a woman’s life after a long history of abuse. It makes me sick and sad and I feel more helpless than ever.
My family did not press charges against him. I remember why and it was because we feared that he would come after my sister if she did. So we got a restraining order and sent my sister to Moscow Idaho. We felt that if we put space between him and her he wouldn’t be able to hurt her. We never even thought for a second that this man was going to hurt another person. We were happy she was safe, we were delusional and uneducated about abuse and abusers. We didn’t think he would do this again, we just thought he hit my sister.
Something that I now know, abusers never stop abusing unless they are getting help for themselves. I wish that something could have been done before Alfredo had a chance to hurt another woman, but that is something that I cannot change. But I hope that by sharing this story, it does help women in some way.
**Find out information about a proposal for an Idaho Domestic Violence Registry that stemmed from the Selena Thomas tragedy here.
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