Teen charged in Gastonia woman’s murder was acquaintance, family says

GASTONIA, N.C. — The daughter of a woman who was found dead inside a car last month in Gastonia says her mother knew the 16-year-old boy accused of killing her.

Police were called around 10:25 a.m. on Jan. 21 to check a vehicle that was down an embankment on West Tenth Avenue. When they got there, officers said they found 41-year-old Francia Magally Martinez dead.

On Monday, Gastonia police said they arrested a 16-year-old boy in connection with Martinez’s death. He has been charged with first-degree murder and robbery.

Martinez’s daughter told Channel 9 that her mom and the teen knew each other. She said he’s an acquaintance of the family and that it’s possible her mother had given him a ride in her car.

“If you were in need of anything, like, she would help you,” said Francia Martinez, who shares the same name as her mother. “She was really a good person. I feel like she didn’t deserve what happened to her.”

According to Francia Martinez, her mother told her husband she was bringing him food, but never made it home.

“She was supposed to come home,” she said. “I just feel, like hurt.”

The woman’s daughter said they initially had no idea that her mother had been killed. She said she just knew her mom hadn’t been seen for a couple of days. It wasn’t until she went to the police to report that her mother was missing that she found out what happened.

When Francia Martinez got to the scene she said she spotted the plate of food her mother was supposed to bring home. She and her mother’s husband are both grieving the sudden loss.

“We all want justice for her. Like we all love her,” she said.

Channel 9′s Gaston County bureau reporter Ken Lemon said it appears prosecutors are moving to indict the teen, which means he could be tried as an adult.