Police seek person of interest in case of missing Woodburn woman
Story updated at 5:17 p.m. Aug. 9.
Three weeks after a Woodburn woman was reported missing from a Keizer bar, police are seeking the public's help in locating a person of interest.
According to surveillance footage at Tequila Nights Bar & Grill from July 16, Cynthia Martinez, 26, who was reported missing by family members the next day, appeared to leave the bar with 30-year-old Jaime Alvarez-Olivera.
Martinez was last seen at about 2:35 a.m. July 16. She had attended a birthday party in the Woodburn area Saturday evening, July 15, and then went to the Tequila Nights Bar & Grill in Keizer, arriving at about 12:30 a.m.
Martinez was last seen leaving the bar with two Hispanic males about two hours later in a blue 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan with Washington plates. The van, registered to Alvarez-Olivera, one of the two men who left the bar with Martinez, was located by investigators on Cleveland Street in Woodburn outside the residence of Alvarez-Olivera's ex-girlfriend and mother of his children. The van was located around 7 p.m. July 17.
"The last place that we know Cynthia was seen was leaving bar here in Keizer," Keizer Deputy Chief Jeff Kuhns said in a Wednesday press conference. "The reason we are posting photographs of the van is we want to see if it will provoke any thought or memory of anybody who had seen that van from 2:35 a.m. Sunday to sometime Monday evening when we recovered the van in Woodburn. We want to know if anyone saw them at another bar, another local establishment, a bank, anything of that sort, a gas station. We want to know if you saw anybody operating this vehicle."
Alvarez-Olivera's whereabouts and even his latest place of residence are unclear. Alvarez-Olivera was last known to be employed as a berry harvester, a Keizer Police Department press release stated.
The press release also stated that Alvarez-Olivera is believed to no longer be in the Marion County area, though his whereabouts are unknown.
Keizer police also noted that the other Hispanic male has been identified and has cooperated with investigators.
"The other individual that was in the van has been located, identified, interviewed and is cooperating with our investigation," Kuhns said during the press conference.
Martinez is described as about 5-foot-3, with long black hair and has several tattoos that say "Dominguez," and "Trust No One" on her chest.
"The Keizer Police Department has been working tirelessly on this investigation since the day it was initially reported," the press release said. "We have devoted over a thousand investigative hours to this investigation and are being assisted by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), the Oregon Department of Justice, the Marion County District Attorney's Office and other local law enforcement agencies in both Marion and adjoining counties."
While Alvarez-Olivera has no violent criminal history, he has had brushes with the law. In 2005 he was cited by Gervais police for a traffic infraction and for providing false information to a police officer. In 2010 and again in 2015, he was arrested by Benton County and Lincoln County sheriff's offices, respectively, for unlawful cutting and transport of special forest products. The Oregon revised statute for ORS 164.813 states that it is unlawful for any person other than the landowner to cut or split wood into special forest products or to harvest or remove special forest products from a place unless the person has in possession a written permit. Kuhns stated that both times it appeared the materials Alvarez-Olivera was caught with were for floral arrangements.
Anyone with information regarding the abandoned vehicle, Alvarez-Olivera's recent residential and/or work history, or his or Martinez's whereabouts, is urged to contact the Keizer Police Department at 503-856-3529. Those who wish to remain anonymous may do so.
"Cynthia Martinez is the mother of four young children and she has family and friends who are very concerned about her," the police press release stated. "We would like to find Cynthia and give her family answers as to what happened to her."
Family seeks answers
The family of Cynthia Martinez is desperate for any word from the 26-year-old, who they said would not just vanish without a word.
"It's unusual in that she doesn't regularly go out," said stepfather Cesar Castillo.
Martinez had attended a quinceanera in Woodburn Saturday, July 15, her first outing since giving birth to her 2-month-old daughter, Sophia. When friends invited her to a bar in Keizer, she agreed.
"Our understanding is, and what surveillance found, was her friend steps out and leaves Cynthia all alone for about 15 minutes," Cesar Castillo continued.
Martinez, who had given her ID and cellphone to her friend because her outfit didn't have pockets, appeared to search for her friends when she started talking to Alvarez-Olivera.
"We believe she was coerced to go with him," said sister Elizabeth Martinez, 21.
Angelica Castillo, Cynthia Martinez's mother, said the family is confident she did not know Alvarez-Olivera prior to that night and that Martinez might not have been using her best judgment since she had been drinking.
"She thought her friends were gone and she was trying to figure out how to get home," Angelica Castillo said. "For whatever reason, she made the wrong choice to go with him."
The family didn't worry until the next afternoon, when they were supposed to go on a hike at Silver Falls State Park with Martinez for her birthday, which had been earlier that week.
"We got out of church and called (Elizabeth Martinez), but she said she never came home," Cesar Castillo said.
"I knew something was going on because she didn't come home," said father Rafael Martinez, who Cynthia Martinez lives with. "Cynthia never would do that. She's been late before, but never something like this."
The family first went to the Woodburn Police Department, which told the family, according to Angelica Castillo, that they couldn't do anything because she was an adult. It wasn't until later that they learned she had been to Keizer, so they approached Keizer police.
Elizabeth Martinez said her sister was a responsible mother to not just her infant, who is now 3 months old, but also three older children, who are 9, 7 and 6.
"She was always a good mom and was barely without her baby," she said. "That was her first night away and she kept texting me to make sure the baby was all right."
While police continue their investigation, the family has been actively searching for Martinez, wearing T-shirts, sharing posts on social media and keeping their eyes peeled everywhere they go.
"We're trying to stay positive," Angelica Castillo said. "The only thing getting us through right now is our faith."