14 Years in an Unmarked Grave, and Finally an Arrest

Last winter, during a rape investigation by the Bronx district attorney’s office, advances in technology gathered more microscopic data out of those same swabs. There was a match: Marleny Cruz died, the police said, at the hands of a suspected serial killer.

JAMES DAVID MARTIN, 12 years older than Marleny, called himself “Snake.” When he was about 6, his mother beat his little sister to death, and he was sent to Maryland to live, Detective Reiman said. In 1989, when he was 17, he lured a 15-year-old boy into the woods, strangled him and, in a flourish that made the murder national news and put the case on the cover of Sports Illustrated, stole his Air Jordan sneakers. It was later revealed that the victim had been sodomized.

Known and suspected victims

Marleny Cruz, 14 Arrested


Michael Eugene Thomas, 15 Convicted

Cicela Santiago, 30 Convicted