FONT & AUDIO
Vigil held on anniversary of disappearance of missing Woodburn mother Cynthia Martinez
Friday was the 27th birthday of Cynthia Martinez, and Monday marks a year since the Woodburn mother of four disappeared.
Martinez's parents and friends are holding a vigil Monday July 16 in honor of their daughter and to support Martinez's family.
Martinez's mom Angelica Castillo said holding the vigil felt like starting the ordeal over again.
"It's painful, but as a mother you always have hope. We are always praying and hoping that someday she will be home," Castillo said.
Castillo said her daughter was always close, taking time to hang out with her younger sisters and brothers and relying on her parents help to take care of her four kids.
"Like any young inexperienced mother she always looked up to us for support, in a way that made it worse, that we were always together," Castillo said.
Martinez attended a friend's quinceañera in Woodburn the day she disappeared, her first time going out since giving birth to her daughter Sophia. Friends invited her to a bar in Keizer afterward to help her celebrate her 26th birthday.
"She's always happy, when she had gone off that week with one of her girlfriends she was super excited because she hadn't gone out for a year," Castillo said.
Martinez was last seen leaving the Tequila Nights Bar and Grill July 16, 2017, in Keizer with two men, one of whom, Jaime Alvarez-Olivera, has been named as a person of interest in Martinez's disappearance.
That was the last Martinez was seen or heard from. Alvarez-Olivera also disappeared and has not been located by police in the months following. Law enforcement believes he left the county, according to previous statements. The Keizer Police Department has not returned requests for comment.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering a reward of up to $8,000 and Crime Stoppers of Oregon is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to Martinez's location or directly resulting in the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for her disappearance.
The family is devastated that police haven't come up with any new information about Martinez's disappearance, Castillo said.
"Even with the reward that has been offered we haven't had any tips," Castillo sad.
Now Castillo and her husband Cesar Castillo are taking care of Martinez's four children. They haven't told their grandchildren why Martinez is missing. The oldest boy believes that his mom is lost in the forest, Castillo said. When the family recently moved from Woodburn to Tigard the kids were worried that their mom wouldn't be able to find the new house when she came back.
"The hardest part is...the baby Sophia is only 14 months old, she doesn't know her mom and she won't remember her," Castillo said.
The vigil for Martinez is 7 p.m. Monday at Chalmers Jones Park at 930 Chemawa Road Northeast in Keizer. The public is invited to attend and asked to wear purple.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.