Family of man found dead weeks after he was reported missing seeks answers in case

SAN ANTONIO – The family of once-missing Mark Anthony Gutierrez said they are devastated knowing their loved one was the body San Antonio police discovered weeks after he was reported missing on Feb. 3.

“It all started when I got a phone call from his cousin saying he never showed up for work,” said April Martinez, Gutierrez’s wife. “I made a missing persons report 24 hours later, but it was around that time that I had been calling his phone constantly all day.”

She said that’s when she received a strange phone call from her husband’s number.

“I thought, ‘Good. I know he is OK now. He is calling me now.’ So I said, ‘Where are you? Where are you?’ It was a woman’s voice, and she goes, ‘I am sorry, but he’s dead.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean, he is dead? Who is this? Where is Mark?’” Martinez said, describing the exchange.

Martinez said she informed police about the phone call. After she made the missing persons report, she didn’t hear anything for weeks.

“I found out police had found a body on Micklejohn (Street), where someone had told us where his body may have been, but they didn’t tell us who the body was,” Martinez said. “I had called all day and later found out they took his fingerprints because his body was so badly decomposed that that is how they identified him.”

Martinez said she knew foul play was involved the day they went looking for Gutierrez, when his cousin told her his car was still parked near their aunt’s house on Micklejohn Street.

“He was going to pick his cousin up from his aunt’s house to go to work the night before because he worked overnight,” Martinez said. “I came over, and the instant I saw his backpack was still in the front seat, I knew something was wrong. Everybody that knew him knew he carried a backpack, and when I saw the backpack in the front seat, I knew some foul play was involved.”

She said that, along with Gutierrez’s cellphone, his car keys were stolen off his key chain.

Martinez said she wants justice because the circumstances surrounding this situation were very odd.

“He didn’t die there at that place where his body was,” Martinez said. “It was a really bad neighborhood. It was an alley, and there was a mattress thrown over him. There was sofa cushions thrown over him. He didn’t die there. Someone put him there.”

Martinez said she is devastated at the thought that her best friend is no longer alive.

“He was my love for over 12 years. He made everybody laugh. We always had game night. He was always joking and making fun of people. No matter what, he always wanted to cheer people up. He loved music because that was his soothing escape. He loved cooking. You would find him in the kitchen before me on the holidays,” Martinez said. “It is hard to go home because of his memories. Every time I turn around, there is a memory that pops up. It is so unreal, and I keep telling myself this is just a bad dream that I am going to wake up from it soon, but no, this is real. I am really going through this. He is really not here anymore.”

Though police have not yet confirmed a cause of his death, Martinez said she is certain someone is responsible and whoever they are, it would be a long time before she could forgive them.

“Everybody has to pay for their sins,” Martinez said. “So I am just going to leave it up to God’s hands. I can’t forgive someone right now. My heart is too broken.”

The family plans to have a memorial service for Gutierrez from 2-6 p.m. Saturday at the Puente and Sons Funeral Chapel. Martinez said shortly afterward, they plan to travel to Micklejohn Street where the body was found for a balloon release.

The medical examiner’s office said it could be at least 12 weeks before they can figure out the cause and manner of death.

The family is also asking anyone who may have any information that can help police in this investigation to call authorities as soon as possible.  

About the Author:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.