CAPE LOOKOUT – Despite a search on ground and water, there has still been no sighting of a Fort Bragg soldier missing since early Saturday morning from Cape Lookout National Seashore, authorities said Thursday afternoon.
Twenty-one-year-old active duty Army Specialist Enrique Roman-Martinez, of the 82nd Airborne Division, left a group of eight people who had come to the seashore on a ferry, military and National Park Service officials said.
Authorities report he left without any supplies and without telling anyone where he was going or what he was doing. He was last seen after midnight Saturday morning, but his disappearance was not reported to authorities until 7 p.m. Saturday, according to Cape Lookout Superintendent Jeff West.
Thursday afternoon, Mr. West said the search and investigation were still active, but he added the effort had already been very thorough.
“It’s a pretty small area, and you can only search it so many times,” he said. “We’re all hoping it will end well.”
Park rangers initially searched on the ground Saturday night and were joined by U.S. Coast Guard and N.C. Marine Patrol boats and aircraft searching the waters the rest of the holiday weekend. Tuesday, paratroopers from Ft. Bragg joined the land effort, but turned up nothing, Mr. West said.
Mr. West said he understood some of the family members of the Mr. Roman-Martinez, a California native, were planning to come to the area, but he had not met with them yet.
SPC Roman-Martinez is described as a Latino, 5 foot 4 inches tall and 120 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blue shorts and no shirt. He walked away from the group’s camp site near Mile Marker 46, near the rock jetty at the south end of the Cape.
Thursday afternoon, Lt. Col. Mike Burns, public affairs officer for the 82nd Airborne, said the paratroopers’ activity in the effort has been called off.
“There’s really nothing new” to report from the search, he said in a phone call, but added in an email the soldier’s wallet and phone were found at the campsite.
Although the NPS has led the search, he said in the email, “Anyone with information should contact Army CID Special Agents at 910-396-8777 or the Military Police Desk at 910-396-1179. They can also contact their local law enforcement agencies.”
The Criminal Investigations Division is a liaison between the Army and civilian authorities, he said, and its involvement does not imply criminal activity is suspected.
SPC Roman-Martinez, he said, is a human resource specialist who joined the Army Aug. 23, 2016, and arrived at Fort Bragg in March 2017.
“Individuals are strongly encouraged to come forward if they have credible information to help locate SPC Roman-Martinez,” he wrote. “People wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable.”
Anyone with information can also call and leave a message for park rangers at the Carteret County Dispatch office at 252-726-1911.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.