Angelica Castillo speaks with reporters at a press conference Aug. 9. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

KPD asks for public’s help finding missing woman

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Police Department is asking the public for assistance in the case of a Woodburn woman who went missing after an evening at Tequila Nights Bar & Grill last month.

Cynthia Martinez, 26, was last seen leaving Tequila Nights about 2:35 a.m. on July 16. Her mother, Angelica Castillo, filed a missing persons report with KPD a little less than 24 hours later.

In the intervening three weeks, Martinez, a mother of four, has not been seen or heard from. Deputy Police Chief Jeff Kuhns held a press conference regarding the case Wednesday, Aug. 9, and released additional information to coincide with asking for public assistance. Family members were also present.

Jaime Alvarez-Olivera, a “person of interest” in Martinez’s disappearance.

Shaking and holding back tears, Castillo told reporters that the family wants their daughter back, “We are asking for anybody who knows to call the tip line, call us. Whatever feels comfortable.”

Martinez’s children, ages 3 months to 9 years, are staying with their grandparents and Castillo said the family is eating dinner together every night and praying.

“They miss her and they want her home. We pray and ask Jesus to keep her safe and bring her back to us. My heart tells me she is alive and she will come back to us. We pray for the officers every day and to give our daughter strength,” Castillo said.

Martinez had attended a birthday party in the Woodburn area Saturday evening, July 15, and then went to Tequila Nights in Keizer arriving at about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 16.  She was last seen leaving Tequila Nights with two Hispanic males approximately two hours later in a blue 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan.  The minivan has since been located by investigators.

Investigators have identified both men seen leaving the bar with Martinez.  One of them, 30-year old Jaime Alvarez-Olivera, is a person of interest in the disappearance.

Kuhns said police identified both men soon after Martinez vanished and have talked with one of the men, who is still cooperating with police.

“We released very little because we thought it could hinder the investigation. By identifying a person of interest, we believe it can give us the leads, facts and information to move this forward,” Kuhns said.

Alvarez-Olivera was last thought to reside in the Woodburn area, however investigators have not been able to determine exactly where he resided or with whom prior to July 16. He was last known to be employed locally as a laborer who harvested berries. Identifying his residence or individuals he lived or worked with, or who may have known or associated with him could be very important to the ongoing investigation.

“He worked for a labor firm and he would call in and find out where to report each morning. His location and coworkers could change from day to day,” Kuhns said.

Anyone who believes they may have information about where Alvarez-Olivera lived, whom he lived or associated with, or whom he may have worked with, or where he might have gone is asked to contact the Keizer Police Department at 503-856-3529.

Cynthia Martinez

Alvarez-Olivera is believed to have left the Marion County area on Sunday, July 16, a short time after Martinez was last seen with him. He has not been located and his whereabouts are unknown. Kuhns said investigators are confident he is no longer in Marion County, but could not say whether he might have left the country.

Alvarez-Olivera has prior arrests stemming from illegal harvesting in Lincoln and Benton counties.

Since the initial report, KPD officers have devoted more than 1,000 investigative hours to the case and are being assisted by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Oregon Department of Justice, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, and other local law enforcement agencies in both Marion and adjoining counties.

Martinez is Hispanic, 5-foot-3, with long black hair and multiple tattoos. Two on her chest read “Dominguez” and “Trust No One.”

The Keizer Police Department is asking anyone who may have information about the disappearance of Cynthia Martinez to please come forward.  Those who wish to remain anonymous may do so.