South Shore News
Sex Assault Victims Thought They Would Die, Sister Says
The incident, which led to the arrest of three men Wednesday, was part of what a Hillsborough County deputy termed a "reign of terror" in the Tampa Bay area in the last seven weeks.
"She said, 'We should have been home and safe, and instead we had all this crap happen,'" said her sister, Jacey Laundree. "And she just stayed mad at that. They told [the victims] that they were going to kill them. ...In her mind she wasn't going to die without dignity. She said, 'If I was gonna die, I was gonna die angry.' And that was how she was going to go through it."
Investigators said Thursday that Rigoberto Morón Martinez, 20, is responsible in Saturday morning's attack at The Docks restaurant in Apollo Beach, as well as two attacks in July in Hillsborough County and an Aug. 3 sexual attack at a St. Petersburg restaurant.
Also arrested were Jose Walle, 13, of Wimauma and Vincente Reyes-Carbajal, 20, of Ruskin.
"There is no doubt in my mind they would have continued this reign of terror," Hillsborough County Sheriff's Col. Gary Terry said of the trio.
Deputies arrested Martinez in Wimauma on Wednesday night. The other two suspects were arrested late Wednesday in Ruskin.
"We're very fortunate that they didn't actually kill anyone," Terry said.
Martinez was charged with 11 counts of sexual battery, four counts of armed kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of armed home invasion, two counts of false imprisonment, two counts of armed robbery and grand theft of a vehicle. Martinez is being held at Orient Road Jail without bail.
Walle was charged with eight counts of sexual battery, two counts of armed kidnapping, two counts of armed robbery, grand theft of a motor vehicle and armed carjacking with a firearm. He also had outstanding warrants on marijuana possession and battery. Walle's booking information was not available.
Walle attended Shields Middle School off and on last year but isn't enrolled in the Hillsborough County School District this year, district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said.
Reyes-Carbajal has been charged with eight counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon, two counts of robbery with a firearm, two counts of armed kidnapping and one count of grand theft. He is being held at Orient Road Jail without bail.
The victims are not being identified because of the nature of the crimes.
The women were closing up at The Docks, 6520 N. U.S. 41, at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday when they were robbed of their money, credit cards and a 2003 Nissan truck, detectives said.
Three men stole $300 from The Docks' cash register, a criminal arrest affidavit states. They drove the women to another location and bound their hands with duct tape.
Martinez sexually battered the women, according to the affidavit. Then the trio drove to a field, and Martinez sexually battered one of the women again, the affidavit states.
Both women identified Martinez through photographs as a man who attacked them.
Martinez "admitted to these offenses," according to the affidavit.
Laundree said her sister was shocked but pleased by the arrest of Martinez.
"She said, 'I am relieved. He was definitely the head of the three of them. He was in charge and the ringleader,'" Laundree said Thursday.
St. Petersburg Attack
Warrants will be issued today for all three in connection with an attack at 3 a.m. Aug. 3 at a St. Petersburg restaurant, St. Petersburg Police Department spokesman Bill Proffitt said Thursday. In that attack, three Hispanic males with guns, their faces covered, robbed the Table at 535 Central Ave.
The three held two employees at gunpoint and stole money and a computer, and one of them raped an employee inside the restaurant, St. Petersburg police say.
St. Petersburg police sent an alert to all Tampa Bay law enforcement agencies, and Hillsborough deputies responded, saying they were investigating cases involving several Hispanic males.
The sheriff's office released a photograph taken by an ATM video camera of one of the people involved in the Apollo Beach sexual battery, and deputies and St. Petersburg police collaborated to solve the crimes. A St. Petersburg officer recognized Martinez and gave deputies his name, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.
In the St. Petersburg attack, Walle and Reyes-Carbajal will be charged with robbery; Martinez will be charged with robbery and rape, Proffitt said.
Two Earlier Attacks
Martinez also is charged in an attack on two teens July 19 on U.S. 41 and Elsberry Road. Detectives said Martinez asked the 17-year-old girls whether they wanted a ride, and when they declined, Martinez forced them at gunpoint to walk to a vacant parking lot. The girls started screaming when Martinez told them to lie on the ground, and Martinez ran away, detectives said.
Authorities say they also linked Martinez to a crime at a home in Gibsonton. In that case, two Hispanic males entered the victim's home at 1:10 a.m. July 3, put a gun to the head of a 28-year-old man and duct-taped his hands and feet. Then they entered the bathroom, where a 23-year-old woman was taking a shower. Martinez sexually battered the woman, detectives said, and the suspects fled with a cell phone, cash, a laptop and several other pieces of computer equipment, detectives said.
Martinez's right index fingerprint was found on the home's exterior door knob, and the woman identified him though photographs as a man who attacked her, a criminal arrest affidavit states.
On Wednesday night, Martinez tried to run from deputies, who found a firearm when they arrested him, Terry said. Martinez led investigators to Walle and Reyes-Carbajal.
When deputies went to arrest Walle and Reyes-Carbajal on Wednesday night, they carjacked a 1998 Kia Sephia from a man talking on his cell phone in Wimauma, a criminal report affidavit said, one of them using a gun.
They later abandoned the vehicle.
Investigators say Martinez may have traveled the state for welding work and they think he might have committed crimes elsewhere in the state.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement also are investigating Martinez, Terry said.
Martinez declined to comment Thursday. No one was at Walle's home or Reyes-Carbajal's home Thursday afternoon.
Tribune reporter Stephen Thompson, TBO.com producer Beth Gaddis and News Channel 8 reporter Krista Klaus contributed to this report. Reporter Josh Poltilove can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 259-7691.