AMADOR COUNTY, Calif. — Update:
ABC10 reached out to the San Joaquin DA and received the following statement after the initial story was published:
"As in any homicide prosecution, the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office has the burden to prove that a homicide occurred and, if so, where it occurred. In a “no body” case, these facts must be proven through circumstantial evidence. Amador County has been conducting an investigation since the victim was reported missing in October 2019. The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office was first notified by the Amador County District Attorney’s Office in late November of 2020 of a possible link to this county and an investigation was immediately commenced. At this time, there is conflicting evidence as to whether the victim has been seen alive in Amador County subsequent to her alleged presence in San Joaquin County. Thus, at this time, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office cannot ethically file charges against anyone as there is insufficient evidence to prove whether she was killed and, if so, whether she was killed in San Joaquin County. However, this is an open and active case and will continue to be thoroughly investigated. If it is determined that this county has jurisdiction in that a homicide occurred and was perpetrated here, we will most certainly file charges against any responsible parties at the appropriate time. We are devastated for the family and will do everything in our power to seek justice for the victim."
The Amador County District Attorney's Office said it is "setting the record straight" in a newly released statement about its investigation into the alleged sexual assault and disappearance of 16-year-old Victoria Marquina.
Marquina reportedly disappeared in October 2019. The lead suspect in the investigation according to Amador County, Joshua Martinez, was brought back into custody for questioning on Dec. 22 by the sheriff's office after being released on Dec. 18.
According to the Amador County DA, this was part of an effort to get Martinez to provide a confession or new evidence into Marquina's disappearance. The DA's office said it had dismissed sex-related charges against Martinez in order to arrest him for the alleged murder of Marquina. However, this effort failed after Martinez chose to remain silent. He has since been released.
"...It is also important that the Marquina family and the public know the truth about the Amador County District Attorney Office’s efforts to seek justice for Victoria so that they can have confidence that we did everything we could do to build a case whereby the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office would file charges against the man responsible for her death," the Amador County DA said in the statement.
In June 2020, Martinez was extradited from Mexico to Amador County and was facing felony sex-related charges, including statutory rape. Marquina was the alleged victim of these charges, Amador County DA said. Martinez was also the lead suspect in her disappearance.
According to the news release, during that investigation, the DA's office found circumstantial evidence that suggested Marquina had been murdered by Martinez, likely in San Joaquin County.
"If there was evidence that any part of the homicide occurred in Amador County our office believed that would be enough to charge Martinez with murder even though Victoria’s body has not been found," Amador County DA said in the statement.
However, according to the news release, the San Joaquin District Attorney's Office disagreed with Amador, and being that the crime had allegedly taken place in San Joaquin's jurisdiction, no murder charges were filed. ABC10 reached out to the San Joaquin DA for a statement but did not receive a response before this article was published.
Amador County then dropped the sex-related charges against Martinez after new evidence surfaced that it said would have made it "impossible to convince a unanimous jury of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
With the hope of gaining new evidence through an interview with Martinez, Amador County DA said Martinez was re-arrested almost immediately following his release from custody, this time to face murder charges.
"The Ramey [arrest] warrant was not written to get around the Amador County District Attorney’s Office...but to take a necessary effort to try to develop sufficient evidence to convince San Joaquin County to charge Martinez," Amador County DA said in the statement.
However, the effort failed when Martinez evoked his fifth amendment rights and refused to speak. The San Joaquin DA's office did not prosecute due to there not being enough evidence of Marquina's death or Martinez's involvement.
"I want Victoria’s family and the Amador community to know that we will continue to do everything within our power to bring justice for Victoria and hold accountable those who killed her," the Amador County DA said. "Victoria deserves nothing less."
Amador County Sheriff's Office is still investigating Marquina's case. It is asking anyone with relevant information to contact the sheriff's office.
Marquina’s friends and family have also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a reward for information leading to her discovery of the 16-year-old, which can be found here.