Joseph Romero Busted in Murder of Girlfriend Phenia Martinez, Who Was 8-Months Pregnant

A Facebook photo of Phenia Martinez. Additional images and a video below.
A Facebook photo of Phenia Martinez. Additional images and a video below.
Facebook

Pueblo's Phenia Martinez, 25, had multiple Facebook pages, with one of them dominated by photos of young children -- and as the new year dawned, she was preparing to welcome a new life, being eight-months pregnant. But before this blessed event could take place, she was brutally murdered -- and given that days passed before her body was discovered, there was no way to save her child.

Now, her live-in boyfriend, Joseph Romero, has been arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder. Continue for photos, video and details about this tragic story.

See also: Taria Wilhite-Moore Busted for Pueblo Murder After SWAT Team Standoff

Martinez shared a wide variety of portraits on Facebook, including this one....

Joseph Romero Busted in Murder of Girlfriend Phenia Martinez, Who Was 8-Months Pregnant
Facebook

...and this one....

Joseph Romero Busted in Murder of Girlfriend Phenia Martinez, Who Was 8-Months Pregnant
Facebook

...and this effects-laden image:

Joseph Romero Busted in Murder of Girlfriend Phenia Martinez, Who Was 8-Months Pregnant
Facebook

There was a considerable age discrepancy between Martinez and Romero; he is 56, with a criminal record that dates back more than three decades. According to KOAA-TV, he's racked up multiple felony convictions since 1980, including an eight-year sentence for assault in 1994. However, all charges were dropped in his most recent assault charge, which dates back to 2000.

The apartment complex where Martinez and Romero lived.
The apartment complex where Martinez and Romero lived.

Police began looking for Romero again in recent days owing to Martinez's disappearance -- although she didn't go far. The Pueblo Police Department notes that detectives with the special victims section began investigating the case on Friday, January 9. However, a PPD spokesman told KOAA-TV that no relatives had a key to access her apartment, on the 1900 block of West 13th Street in Pueblo, and investigators were unable to get a search warrant until the following Monday, January 12.

That evening, they entered the residence to find Martinez dead, reportedly of multiple stab wounds in her neck and torso.

Another angle on the complex where Martinez's body was found.
Another angle on the complex where Martinez's body was found.

Shortly thereafter, an arrest warrant was obtained in Romero's name and a gray Dodge Dakota associated with the couple was located. But Romero remained at large until 7:30 p.m. last night, when he walked into the Pueblo Municipal Justice Center and surrendered to authorities. He remains in custody at this writing.

Our condolences to Martinez's friends, family and loved ones.

Look below to see a recent mug shot of Romero, followed by a KOAA-TV broadcast before Romero's capture.

Joseph Romero.
Joseph Romero.
Pueblo Police Department

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Note: A previous version of this post included a photo of Martinez and a man identified as Romero. We have since learned that the man in the image was misidentified and the photo has been removed. We apologize for the error

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.


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