MT. JULIET, Tennessee—Dace Martinez, who had been reported missing in August 2018, was found dead in Hermitage.
His remains were found last week and positively identified on Friday, April 12.
Kent Martinez, Dace’s father, moved to Tennessee in 2011. Dace Martinez moved here to join him last year.
AFTER THE GAME: A Mt. Juliet family is pleading for answers in the search for their son who disappeared nearly four months ago. 29 y/o Dace Martinez was last seen at his home on W Division Street near the Davidson Co line. @WSMV pic.twitter.com/pn9rnlCwhj
— Cameron Taylor (@WSMVCameron) December 24, 2018
While Dace is gone now, Kent Martinez still has hope because of his faith. He knows this all happened for a reason.
“I can’t even describe the pain of a parent losing a child,” Kent Martinez said.
He described his son as being loving, compassionate and full of promise. Dace was about to start a new job and a new journey before he disappeared.
“Everything just went dark that day, I mean nothing,” Kent Martinez said.
Dace Martinez was last seen on Aug. 25, 2018. Kent Martinez had gone to his brother-in-law’s funeral in Arizona. That was the last day he spoke to Dace.
Devastating update: We are very saddened to report that Dace Martinez has been located deceased. Please keep his family…
“What happened? No notes, no nothing,” Kent Martinez said.
Police found the remains of Dace Martinez in Hermitage last week. The cause of his death is still unknown.
“We are given trials in life by our Father in heaven. These are what tempers the steel of a human being. These are what makes us who we are. It’s up to us to deal with these trials. They either make you or break you,” Martinez said.
MISSING, PLEASE RT: Mt. Juliet detectives are searching for 29-year-old Dace Martinez, who went missing from the West Division St. area.
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) September 4, 2018
So many questions left unanswered, but Kent Martinez has come to terms with that.
“Answers will come in the eternities if I don’t get them here,” Martinez said.
Police said they found no signs of foul play where his remains were found. His death is under investigation.
Over 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Many of the missing adults and children are found safe but others are never found or are found dead.
“It is estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year, with approximately 1,000 of those bodies remaining unidentified after one year,” the center stated.
As of Jan. 22, there were 15,325 open missing person cases in addition to 12,449 open unidentified person cases.
As of Dec. 31, 2017, the National Crime Information Center had over 88,000 active missing person cases across the country. But hundreds of thousands of cases were resolved that year.
Approximately 651,000 missing person records were entered but about the same number were removed.
“Reasons for these removals include: a law enforcement agency located the subject, the individual returned home, or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record is invalid,” the center stated.
The first 72 hours in a missing persons case is the most critical, according to criminology experts. That’s partly because investigators have the best chance of following up on leads before people’s memories start to fade, Dr. Bryanna Fox, former FBI agent and criminology professor at the University of South Florida, told ABC News.
“The information that law enforcement gets tends to be a little more accurate, and they are able to act on the information and hopefully get that person who is missing quicker,” Fox said. Later, there are fewer “bread crumbs,” or leads, to follow.
Dr. Michelle Jeanis, a criminology professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said that time is of the essence because the missing person could be in danger.
After about a week, the person could very likely be dead, said former FBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Gomez. “There’s a certain point after about a week or two where you have to think, the potential that the missing person is dead and now it’s a matter of trying to find their body and bring closure to the family and to determine if you now have a homicide investigation, or suicide, or some kind of accidental death,” he said.