Family says daughter is more than just San Jose's 9th homicide this year

Image 1 of 2

A San Jose family is making an emotional plea, seeking justice after their loved one was shot to death back in May. The family is now offering a reward leading to their daughter's killer.

In past Christmases, Jennifer “Josie” Martinez would be the Elf, helping give presents with her father who was Santa, but not this Christmas.

“It’s a loss that can't be explained,” said mother, Jennifer Martinez. “This will stick with us forever.”

Seven months have gone by since the Martinez's lost their youngest child and only daughter. Her mother, who bears the same name, describes the 24-year-old as a carefree spirit. Her spirit was gone too soon on the night of May 16.

“What happened?” said Aunt Otila Estrada. “Help us understand why her?”

Her family said Jennifer had been drinking with two acquaintances who they had never meet, enjoying the sights from Sierra Road in the East San Jose foothills. Around 10 p.m., someone opened fire.

Witnesses heard a car speed off, away from the crime scene the same time as the shooting. Martinez and a 21-year-old man were both shot and killed.

“That’s the only information that we have is that they don't believe she was not the intended target,” said Martinez. “They believe she was a victim. It’s pretty much the wrong place, wrong time, I don't know what happened out there.”

“My daughter was the type of person if they needed help,” said Father Ricky Martinez. “She would go see how she could help them. She was the type if they were in trouble she would not run away. I think that's what happened.”

There are little clues to go off of. It happened in a remote area with not much lighting and few witnesses have come forward.

This Christmas, the family still has her San Jose Sharks stocking hanging. The tree is decorated with more angels. Her picture is atop the tree. Her family said, she's their angel now.

“She was a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, my niece and a friend,” said Estrada. “That's how she should be remembered.”

“Nothing is going to bring her back,” said Mother Jennifer Martinez. “We just ask that she get justice.”

San Jose Police said the homicide unit is actively investigating the case. Detectives continue to follow up on all leads and are interested in hearing from anyone who has information.