CAPE LOOKOUT – Paratroopers from Ft. Bragg Army Base near Fayetteville are scheduled to join the effort to search Tuesday for 21-year-old active duty Army Specialist Enrique Roman-Martinez, who went missing early Saturday morning on Cape Lookout National Seashore.
Jeff West, superintendent of the seashore, said Tuesday Specialist Roman-Martinez, stationed at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base near Jacksonville, left a group of eight people who had come to the seashore on a ferry without telling anyone where he was going or what he was doing.
He was last seen after midnight Saturday morning, but his disappearance wasn’t reported to seashore authorities until 7 p.m. Saturday, Mr. West said, and no one has reported seeing the California native since he left the group near Mile Marker 46, near the rock jetty near the south end of the cape.
“It’s definitely a little mysterious,” Mr. West said. “By the time we got the report, about 17 hours had passed and by then we couldn’t use a search dog, especially with all the wind we get over here.”
The missing man is described as a Latino male, 5 foot 4 inches tall and 120 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blue shorts and no shirt.
Already, park rangers and others have searched by land, and the N.C. Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard have searched the waters of the park and other waters nearby with boats and planes, Mr. West said.
“There are some areas of thick woods that haven’t been cleared. That’s why he called in the military, to help with that. Hopefully, that will at least give us some resolution for the ground part of the search,” he said.
Army Maj. Russell Gordon, a public information officer at Fort Bragg, said Tuesday Specialist Ramon-Martinez was a “pretty junior soldier, not a lot of experience, I think,” but added that officials at Fort Bragg are still gathering details about the missing man and his disappearance.
The U.S. Army, he said, expects to put out an official statement Tuesday.
A statement on the Cape Lookout National Seashore Facebook page reads “Attention anyone who was on or near mile 46 on Cape Lookout on Saturday, May 23rd. Did you see this young man on the Cape or perhaps give him a ride off the island?
“He walked away from his friends very early on Saturday morning without water or other supplies and has not been seen since. His friends and family have become concerned as they have not been able to contact him.
“If you saw him on Saturday at any time, would you please call and leave a message for our 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.