Man tied to 2 Polk County murders being held on no bond following arrest

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Melissa Rodriguez says her 3-year-old nephew clings to a toy dinosaur, one of the only things he has left of his father

“He would see that boy as much as he can, and now that boy has no explanation as to why his father was taken. He cries every night,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said her younger brother, Edil “Eddie” Fernando Rodriguez Jr., 33, would give a person in need his last dollar.

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“He was a free spirit. He was very respectful, very helpful. He was loved. He’s missed by many,” she said. “He wasn’t perfect, but which of us are perfect? We’re not all perfect. He tried.”

Rodriguez said her brother, a father of two, had a place to live but liked spending time at a homeless camp in Winter Haven.

That’s where deputies said he was shot and killed in a tent on Nov. 8.

His accused killer, Enrique Martinez, 26, had been on the run ever since.

Tuesday afternoon, deputies spotted him walking on a sidewalk north of Eagle Lake and arrested him after he briefly fled into the woods.

“I opened the [cruiser] door, and I looked at him, and he said, ‘Hi, sheriff. How are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m fine. Are you tired?’ He said, ‘I gave myself up’. Well, that’s a pretty easy choice when you’re surrounded by 100 deputy sheriffs with guns,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

According to Sheriff Judd, deputies were shocked to see him casually walking down the street.

“There was a reason for that,” said Sheriff Judd. “We had put so much pressure on his friends and his family. We made several arrests of people who had harbored him or transported him to get away from us that he was too hot to handle.”

Rodriguez said she was relieved to see Martinez in jail after more than two months.

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“I feel at peace knowing that this man is not out there to hurt anybody, knowing he can’t hurt anybody else,” said Rodriguez.

Sheriff Judd has named Martinez as the “prime suspect” in the murder of 20-year-old Sierra Hernandez, who was reported missing on Jan. 14.

The sheriff’s office has not disclosed details on where or how her body was found or any potential connections between Hernandez and Martinez.

Martinez is not facing charges related to Hernandez’s disappearance or death at this time.

“If they would have done the same amount of effort they put in for Sierra, Sierra would be here with us today. Sierra would be alive,” said Melissa Rodriguez.

During the investigation into Rodriguez’s murder, the sheriff’s office posted on social media about his case and the search for Martinez.

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In court Wednesday, a judge ordered Martinez to be held on no bond and provisionally appointed a public defender to represent him.

He is facing several charges, including first-degree murder, resisting an officer, and tampering with physical evidence.

Hernandez’s father and four others were arrested for searching a property where they thought Sierra Hernandez could have been located.

The state attorney’s office said Wednesday all charges against them were dropped.

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