Relatives of murdered Gage Park family enter home

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Relatives of a family of six found murdered in their home in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood went into the house for the first time (WLS)

Relatives of a family of six found murdered in their home in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood went into the house for the first time Thursday morning.

Huddled together, relatives made their way past an elaborate memorial marked by white crosses and burning candles in front of the home in the 5700-block of South California Avenue.

The victims were identified as Noe Martinez Sr., 62; Rosaura Martinez, 58; Noe Martinez Jr., 38; Maria Herminia Martinez, 32; Leonardo Cruz, 13; and Alexis Cruz, 10.

PHOTOS: 6 family members murdered in Gage Park home

A pastor was there to bless the house before the relatives went inside to gather some sentimental belongings.

"That's the role of the church and all of us as believing people to know that in the midst of all this, God is more present in this home than in any other home in this neighborhood right now," said Pastor Gary Graf, St. Gall Catholic Church.

As the family left, Leonardo and Alexis' father broke down, overcome with grief. He traveled from Mexico to Chicago to claim their bodies for burial.

A funeral service for the victims will be held at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Gall Catholic Church, which is located at 5511 South Sawyer Avenue in Chicago.

"The families of our parish are very much traumatized. They can identify immediately with what's occurred and the Martinez family, so they just want to be there for them," Graf said.

The younger boy's soccer coach also came by. Asked about Alexis, speaking in Spanish the coach said, "He was always very lovable, and how he enjoyed dying his hair different colors. He would dye it a certain color for the game."

An Illinois crime victims fund is covering the cost of the service. The Mexican government will pay for the burials, when their remains arrive in the country.

Police confirm three "bladed" weapons were used to kill most of the family. But officers have not been able to find those weapons.

Investigators believe the family was targeted, but admit they don't know why. Police do not believe there is any threat to the public.

Police were called to the home for a well-being check last Thursday, when Noe Martinez Jr. didn't show up for work.

An autopsy revealed that most of the six victims had been beaten and stabbed. Maria Herminia Martinez was shot to death. However, police said the home was not burglarized and all of the doors were locked.

Investigators said they are sifting through a lot of evidence and they remain confident they'll be able to solve this case.

Dawn Valenti, a victims advocate working with relatives of the family, said they are scared and praying for this case to be solved.

"It seems like CPD is doing a very good job. So we're hoping someone, a person or persons, will be arrested soon so somebody can get peace," Valenti said.
Related Topics:
newsmurderfamilyChicago - Gage Park
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