For former Beaumont Police investigator Mitch White, the investigation into the death of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez is still fresh in his mind after nearly 12 years.
White led the investigation into the murder of the Beaumont boy who was kidnapped, murdered, and whose body was dumped in a field near Indio.
With accused murderer Joseph Edward Duncan back in the Southland awaiting trial, the memories of the investigation come back to White.
“You always think about the ‘what if’s. You second guess yourself. You always worry, ‘Did I miss something? Did I not do something right?'”
White still visits the boy’s grave to remember the life cut short by a killer.
Martinez was kidnapped out of an alley behind his house. It’s a place where family members, friends, and White will never forget.
“I can still remember I was actually not very far from where it occurred having dinner with my family at a local restaurant when I got a call from the chief who said ‘We just had a witness to child abduction.”
White and his partner, John Acosta, took the lead in the kidnapping investigation.
The community came together to try and find Anthony. Instead, a ranger found the boy’s body in the hills near Indio.
Then, for almost a decade, the case went cold.
“There were no real leads that led to anything earth-shattering, and so it was very frustrating and it has been for all these years.”
The break came in 2005 when Idaho police arrested Joseph Edward Duncan for killingthree people including a nine-year-old boy.
Duncan’s fingerprints matched evidence in the Martinez case. Now, he’s awaiting trial in Riverside County.
The arrest lefta satisying feeling for White and the Martinez family. They’ve since grown close.
But White’s friend and colleague Acosta missed out. He died of lung cancer only months before Duncan arrived in California.
“Diana (Martinez’s mother) and I were talking that we wish John could have been here to see this because this would have been an important day for him.”
Duncan is scheduled to die for his Idaho crimes, and the Riverside County District Attorney wants the same justice for Anthony Martinez.
White believes concurs with the D.A.
“I’m a supporter of the death penalty. If for no other reason, the death penalty insures you’ll never do it again.”