Minnesota Man Charged With Murder Of 19-Year-Old Yadhira Romero Martinez

Yadhira was “a gentle kind soul who was working hard for her family,” says her cousin.

May 18, 2021

Hundreds gathered in Minneapolis for a vigil in memory of 19-year-old Yadhira Romero Martinez. [via GoFundMe]

Hundreds gathered in Minneapolis for a vigil in memory of 19-year-old Yadhira Romero Martinez. [via GoFundMe]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A suspect is under arrest in connection with the death of a Minnesota woman who recently moved from Mexico to the United States with her younger brother.

On April 22, Yadhira Romero Martinez, 19, failed to return home after finishing her job around 4 p.m. Concerned family began searching for Martinez and filed a missing persons report the next morning, KARE reported.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by the station, on April 23, Daniel Cuenca Zuniga left his rented room at a Minneapolis home and the landlord saw through the doorway a woman’s feet. He allegedly locked the door, told her the woman had “passed out” and “had had too much to drink” and he left, the documents state.

At 12:30 p.m., the landlord attempted to wake the woman by knocking on Cuenca Zuniga’s door, but when she failed to respond, the landlord called emergency responders to do a welfare check. Fireman broke down the door and discovered Martinez’s body.

The complaint states detectives obtained surveillance footage from neighbors allegedly showing Cuenca Zuniga, 23, and the victim arriving at the home together around 6 p.m. the night before Martinez died.

Days after Martinez’s death, authorities located Cuenca Zuniga in Ohio using cell phone data, arrested him and charged him with intentional, non-premeditated second-degree murder. He was extradited back to Minnesota.

On May 10, Cuenca Zuniga made his initial court appearance and a judge set his bail at $750,000. He is currently being held in the Hennepin County Jail.

“I didn't have anything to do with this issue, and this is unfair to me,” Cuenca Zuniga claimed in court, according to KARE.

On a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for Martinez’s body to be sent to her parents in Mexico, Jenny Smith described her cousin as “a gentle kind soul who was working hard for her family.”

“Most of her life was in Mexico,” Smith wrote. “She was born in the US, but at [an] early age her family had to migrate back to Mexico with her parents not being able to return.”

A couple years ago, Smith noted, Martinez “decided to come back to the States in hopes of a better future and opportunity.”

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