Man arrested more than 20 years later in murder of 13-year-old girl found dead in Bronx

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Jim Dolan has more on 49-year-old Joseph Martinez, who was charged with murder Monday more than two decades after Minerliz Soriano was killed.

BRONX, New York (WABC) -- Police have made an arrest in the cold-case murder of a teenager in the Bronx whose body was dumped like trash.

Joseph Martinez, 49, of New Rochelle, was charged with murder Monday more than two decades after Minerliz Soriano was killed.

The 13-year-old Soriano, who went by Minnie, was killed in 1999 and her body was discovered in a dumpster in the Bronx.

Soriano would be 35 years old now. She was on her way home in Co-Op City when she was strangled.

It took three agonizing days to find her.

For her family, the years have not closed the wounds and the pain has not ebbed -- not even a bit.

"We will never forget what happened, because she's still in our heart," the victim's aunt Amelia Soriano said.

Police told Eyewitness News that the man arrested in her death has a public life and calls himself "Jupiter Joe." A YouTube video shows him in public places teaching astronomy to children.

Soriano said nobody from her family and none of Minnie's friends remember Martinez, but police say he lived in Co-Op City in 1999.

Police say advanced DNA technology helped them make the arrest after a newly available DNA test linked him to the murder.

Minnie's family said they never gave up hope that police would find her killer.

Martinez will be arraigned on Tuesday.

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