By Marissa Perlman

SUTTER CREEK (CBS13) — Joshua Anthony Martinez is walking free from the Amador County Jail, even though investigators think he killed a 16-year-old girl.

Joshua Anthony Martinez (credit: Amador County Sheriff’s Office)

Without a body, the District Attorney says they can’t charge him with murder the murder of Victoria Marquina, so now the charges are dropped.

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Blanca, Marquina’s mother, says the last conversation they had happened on Main Street in Sutter Creek.

“That’s the last time I see her,” said Blanca. “She said, “Mom I see you later in the night and it’s okay, God bless you.”

But Victoria never came home. And one year later, there’s been no sign of her. Investigators now say Martinez, 22, was one of the last people to see her. Her mom and Investigators think he is responsible for her death.

“He did it. I’m sure,” Blanca said.

Shortly after she vanished, Martinez fled to Mexico. Amador County Investigators arrested him back in June on several charges related to sex with a minor and he was eventually brought back to the United States.

Victoria’s body has never been found, but the sheriff’s office says they have circumstantial evidence to prove Martinez murdered her, most likely in the San Joaquin County area near Escalon where her car was found.

According to investigators, and not long after Marquina went missing, Martinez admitted to dropping her off in Sutter Creek during the morning of Oct. 6, 2019. He reportedly said that was the last time he saw her.

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On Oct. 13, 2019, Marquina’s black Honda Accord was located abandoned in Escalon, a small town in San Joaquin County. Detectives in Amador County said they initially attempted to find Marquina through her cell phone, but learned it was last located in San Joaquin County on Oct. 9, 2019, and had since been shut off.

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Martinez was supposed to be released Friday on the statutory rape charges, but a judge granted the sheriff’s office, a warrant to keep him in custody for up to 72 hours longer.

Victoria Marquina (credit: National Center For Missing and Exploited Children)

The sheriff’s office was hoping for a miracle, to find some physical evidence to connect him to Victoria’s disappearance.

County Undersheriff Gary Redman, said, “It is frustrating its heartbreaking for the family, we really want closure and our goal was a conviction.”

That evidence never came and Martinez walked out confidently from the jail where he’d spent the past six months. He denies having any relationship with Victoria or playing a role in her disappearance.

So far, no one has come forward with any information on Victoria. Martinez went on to say he met Victoria on a dating site and she lied about her age.

When CBS13 asked Martinez why he fled to Mexico, he claimed to be getting death threats over Victoria’s disappearance.

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Marquina’s whereabouts are still unknown and she remains on the Amador County missing persons list. Anyone who may have any information that could potentially help law enforcement locate Marquina is urged to contact the Amador County Sheriff’s Office.

Marissa Perlman