Body Found Is Priest; Foul Play Suspected

By Omar A. Duque
Albuquerque Tribune (New Mexico)
May 6, 1997

The body of a man found in the Jemez Mountains was identified today as the Rev. Armando Martinez, an Archdiocese of Santa Fe priest, the state Office of the Medical Examiner said.

The cause of death has not been determined but Martinez did not die of natural causes, a spokesperson at OMI said.

Martinez, 62, was reported missing Saturday by his sister in Santa Fe. She last saw him Friday when he left town -- possibly on his way to a retreat in the Jemez Mountains.

Sandoval County Sheriff Rey Rivera said the body was found Monday about 10 feet from the road at Valle Grande, about 10 miles west of Los Alamos.

"There was definitely foul play involved," Rivera said.

The body was identified today by friends of the priest.

Martinez became a priest in 1961. He is a former head of the Marriage Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

In March 1993, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe restricted Martinez from active ministry as a priest because of allegations of sexual misconduct, the archdiocese said today.

Martinez retired in 1994.

Today, Archbishop Robert Sheehan said he "is deeply saddened and hopes that the perpetrator will be quickly apprehended."

Rivera said Martinez was stopped by a sheriff's deputy last week -- before he was reported missing.

Rivera said that when Martinez was stopped, there was a passenger in the car who was a convicted felon with a violent history but with no criminal warrants.

Rivera said that man may be driving Martinez's car.

Investigators are asking anyone who sees Martinez's green 1978 Cadillac Deville, New Mexico license plate 697-GDY, to call the department at (800) 862-4358.


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