Renee Martin had a great job in Boca Raton. She had her own townhome in Davie. Her friends say Martin didn’t drink or do drugs. For her, it was work at her sales management job at a big hotel chain and some fun during her time off with her girlfriends, Debra and Sylvia. That was life before she met Roy Martin.
Life after their meeting at a south Florida country and western bar lasted 10 months. Renee was found dead at their home on April 21, 1995.
“She was found inside of her residence stabbed 13 times,” Davie Police Detective Paul Williams said. “Two of the knives were stuck in her from the stabs. One was left stuck in the side of her face,” Williams said. “The other was stuck in her stomach.”
Williams and the Davie Police Department have reopened this cold case. The person who killed Renee has never been arrested and that's something Renee’s family and close friends carry with them daily.
“I have always prayed that her justice would come someday,” Debra Day Cather told us. “Someone would come and find who did this.” Debra lived down the street from Renee. She says that everything changed when Roy Martin entered the picture. “Oh she thought he was absolutely gorgeous,” Debra said.
She still had photos of Renee in her wedding dress the day she married Roy just five months after meeting him. “I don’t know what she was thinking,” Debra said.
Julie Bacher is Renee’s niece and she met Roy once. “The one time I met him wasn’t exactly the greatest meeting,“ Bacher says.
Something also troubling to those close to Renee—Roy was 21 years younger. They two got married when Roy was in jail. Police say Renee’s good job allowed her to pay more than 30 thousand dollars in restitution to his victims from a theft charge. “It happened so quick. It was so unbelievable,” Debra remembers. “She married him in jail. We were so against that.”
Detective Williams says he was told the couple couldn't have been more different. “He was involved in drugs and that was completely opposite of what her lifestyle was, “ Williams says. Her friends couldn’t believe she went from bride to murder victim in five months.
Police rushed to Renee’s townhome in a place back then where there was virtually no serious crime. The town of Davie still had lots of open space two decades ago and her murder was one of only two in the town that year.
“I got woken up by Sylvia pounding on my door going Renee’s been killed,” Debra told us. “It was oh my God, it was really bad. It was unbelievable.“
Detective Williams called it, “a pretty passionate crime—a lot of hate there.” One theory at the time: an unknown intruder came into the town home from the golf course and surprised Renee and killed her.
Williams says the detectives investigating the murder in 1995 hit dead ends and the case went cold. Still he says Roy Martin was a suspect at the time and is still one today. “I think he had something to do with her murder. If he didn’t do it, he had someone do it,” Williams stated.
Martin has never been charged with anything associated with Renee's death, and is presumed innocent. Williams is hoping time and technology will help solve this cold case.
“Fast forward to where we are now we started looking into it because of technology and advances,” Williams says. Advances such as the vacuum-like machine Davie Police obtained that can suck up DNA. It was used to go back over the items saved from the crime scene. The case is one of only a handful each year selected by a group of cold case experts in Philadelphia who can help local police with resources and expertise they normally wouldn’t have. The VIDOCQ Society is named after Eugene Francois Vidocq who in the 19th century used his own criminal past to break the case when everything appeared futile.
Those who know him say Roy was always a smooth talking ladies man and police say he eventually ended up having five wives. Two of his ex-wives told NBC 6 he never indicated to them he killed Renee. Williams told us while married to Renee he picked up his relationship with his former girlfriend, Sherri Belinsky. Belinsky told us Martin kept calling her after he got married. Police say Belinsky told Roy to end the marriage.
“Sherri gave him an ultimatum when she wanted Roy to break up with Renee to be with her and coincidentally that day was April 18, three days before she was found deceased,” Williams said. Williams said Martin left Florida with Belinsky. They eventually settled in Texas where they married. She recalled him getting money after Renee’s death. “He did collect. He did get some life insurance from her,” she said. Belinsky divorced Martin several years later.
In a phone call that was recorded from the police department the day Renee’s body was discovered, Roy’s mother asked him,” You didn’t do it?” Martin responds, “What kind of question is that, Mom?" His mother questions if her son was on drugs, but Roy responds that he was “at work all day.” However, Williams said, “He was never really talked to or accounted for where he was at—what his actions were fully that day.”
We found Roy Martin on Facebook – he now lives in Oklahoma. Public records show that he has been arrested multiple times since leaving Florida 20 years ago. Multiple calls to his personal numbers, his girlfriend’s phone, his workplace along with messages sent through social media were never responded to. Detective Williams says he wants to have a conversation with him.
“We are looking at things that weren’t analyzed then,” Williams said. “We believe it’s going to lead us to the right person.” Those who loved Renee certainly want to see justice. “Just some closure would be an amazing thing for our family,” Bacher says. Debra told us the years are going by but she still has some of Renee’s possessions and the tragedy made her closer to Renee’s spirit. “No, I never gave up hope,” she said.