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Cold Justice: 'In mama's room there was a monster' says child in murder

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"In mama's room there was a monster!" the two-year old child of a murder victim said in the latest episode of TNT's "Cold Justice", Friday, Feb. 28. In this episode famous former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and nationally-known investigator Yolanda McClary trekked to Gallatin, Tenn. to investigate the brutal murder of a young mother in her own home.

Siegler, who won more than 60 murder cases in the courtrooms of Houston without encountering defeat, informed Virginia, the mother of murder victim Lydia Martinez, that this will be a difficult case.

"It's a hard case, we'll try our hardest," Siegler tells Virginia as McClary and she sit in the living room of the grieving mother's home.

One of the victim's family members told Siegler and McClary, "Mom is in heaven. This person turned our world upside down."

McClary summed up the case for the viewers, saying, "It's a complex crime scene. Multiple rooms and weapons. Carl, her eight year old son discovered his mother's body on her back with a bag over her head. There were two knives stuck in her neck. She was asphyxiated. The murderer poured 409 on her. The sink was filled with water and dish soap."

The former Las Vegas investigator further said, "All the murder weapons were from inside the house which indicates to me it was a murder in the heat of passion."

The role model for CSI investigator Marg Helgenberger said, "There was a burner on the floor. Knives everywhere. So the struggle started in the kitchen and ended on the living room floor. The murderer must've stepped on her neck, breaking the hyoid bone, then stabbed her in front of her two kids."

Siegler explained the TNT Cold Justice team will have to go through all the men in Lydia Martinez's life as the next step in the investigation. Unfortunately, this is a case where most of the evidence has already been set off to a lab for DNA testing by Sgt. Chris Shockley and local law enforcement in Gallatin. The results were all inconclusive which does not help the investigation.

When former Houston detective Alan Brown along with Siegler and McClary confronted a suspect who was once arrested by the Gallatin police for the murder, they met resistance.

The TNT team became suspicious of the suspect when they observed cuts on his hands which they think might have been incurred during a struggle with the murder victim. The suspect explains the lacerations as being received when he had an accident in the garage of his own home moving some items which fell and broke.

The suspect also said, "She's that girl from Buffalo Wild Wings. We had sex." He denies killing Lydia though.

Local law enforcement established the murder as probably occurring between 9 a.m. and noon. Cody, a friend of the main suspect, told Gallatin police that he'd dropped the suspect off at a location near the murder the morning it occurred. Cody also said when he saw the suspect again his friend had injuries. Cody said his friend said he got in a fight with a guy.

But when Kelly and Yolanda met with Cody he recanted his story which dealt the investigation a setback.

Siegler then explained there is a second suspect they need to look at who sold Lydia a truck. She owed him $3000 for it. Siegler said, "Debt can be a motive for murder."

Lydia was murdered on Aug 12, 2010 and she was to pay off the remainder of the debt on Aug. 14 to the second suspect.

The second suspect agreed to meet with the TNT team at the police department for an interview. He said he sold the truck originally to Lydia for $7,000 and she paid $4,000 down. He claimed, "She said she had $3000 to pay off the rest of what she owed."

This suspect tried to present an alibi defense. He produced receipts showing he was in neighboring Kentucky at 2 to 3 p.m. However, since it is believed the murder occurred in the morning, he would've had time to drive to Kentucky after killing Lydia. His alibi doesn't clear him.

The Cold Justice team return to the first suspect's friend Cody who angrily refuses to co-operate. He said, "You come to my job. She was a slut just like most women are."

"Useless witness," Sigler intones as Alan Brown returns to the TNT vehicle after his confrontation.

Siegler summed up the investigation at this point, saying, "The statement of a two-year old may never make it to court. There's no DNA. Inconclusive results."

McClary said one point has been overlooked thus far. "Lydia's shirt was wet. It's hot in August in Tennessee. Water dissipates. So she was probably killed in the afternoon right before her oldest son came home from school and found her. So the second suspect's alibi is good. He was in Kentucky at the time of the murder. We can exclude Ronnie as a suspect."

Siegler and McClary then focused on the first suspect who admitted to having sex with Lydia but who denied murdering her.

Witness Leah Coon said, "Everyone was acting weird at Buffalo Wild Wings the next day. She went on two dates with him (the first suspect). She told me she wanted to get rid of him. She didn't want to go home if he was there."

She further said the first suspect often parked in a green van near Lydia's house.

The investigation gained traction as Siegler and McClary visited with a Mr. and Ms. Sullivan who said they saw a green van flee the neighborhood near the time of the murder. Their description of the driver is similar to that of the lone remaining murder suspect. But the suspect said his sister had the van in New Jersey at the time of the murder.

Kelly then said they need to establish the timeline again. The suspect and his friend Cody went to the grocery store at 12:33 p.m. before driving home on the day of the murder. They have lunch at 12:47 p.m. If they are allotted 30 minutes for lunch they could have reached Lydia's by 1:39 p.m. Which would have given the suspect five minutes to commit the murder before Lydia's oldest son came home from school.

Kelly said they tracked down the suspect's sister to New Jersey who backed up his story that she had the green van in New Jersey on the day of the murder.

The Cold Justice team contacted the suspect again by cell phone. He said, "We had sex for a weekend and that was the entire relationship. I only went to her house twice."

Yolanda said, "Our only chance now is if the DNA comes back."

While the police had originally sent off most of the evidence for DNA testing, Yolanda had decided to send off a couple more items. The lab results come in and unfortunately are inconclusive for the knife and shirt which were sent in by the Cold Justice team.

Kelly and Yolanda meet with Virginia Guierrez and other members of the victim's famly and explained, "There is not enough evidence to present yet to the district attorney for prosecution."

Virginia, who is taking care of Lydia's three sons Carl, P.J. and Roberto, said, "We have to go on living."

Kelly compliments her for being a second mother to the children.

While this murder case has not yet been solved, Kelly and Yolanda were successful in advancing the investigation a considerable distance down the road. They were able to eliminate one of the suspects and established that a green van was seen fleeing the neighborhood shortly after the murder. This is a relatively young cold case, being only three and a half years old.

Kelly and Yolanda have solved cases considerably older than this one so its far too early to give up hope that this one will be solved. The national publicity this case has now received could easily lead to more witnesses coming forward or more information being uncovered.

People with information regarding the case may contact the Gallatin, Tenn. Police Department.

Kelly has opened her own law office in Houston since leaving the Harris County District Attorney's Office. She has set up a format on her law firm's website whereby people may send her emails. She now respresents victims as part of her law practice.

The season has been extended into the summer so fans will be happy to know they can still tune in Friday's at 9/8 CST on TNT to watch Kelly and Yolanda work on more of the 200,000 unsolved cold cases across the nation.

Those interested in more information on Kelly and and Yolanda may read their interviews with me in articles recommended below this one.

Anyone interested in receiving updates of National Places and Faces articles may click on a subscribe link in the area of this article. My readers may also follow me on Wichita Falls Law Enforcement and National Western Religions articles.

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