A pregnant woman was found stabbed to death in her apartment in unincorporated Gretna early Sunday morning, according to Col. John Fortunato, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Fortunato said deputies were called at 12:49 a.m. to the 600 block of Whitney Avenue, where they found 23-year-old Katherine Martinez lying on the kitchen floor with multiple stab wounds. She died at the scene.
Family members told investigators that Martinez was in her third trimester. Authorities are investigating the case as a homicide and feticide, Fortunato said.
The killing was one of two reported in unincorporated Gretna early Sunday morning, though authorities don’t believe the incidents were related.
Fortunato said Martinez’s mother grew worried when her daughter failed to pick her up at Louis Armstrong International Airport around 11 p.m.
“She became very concerned. She called a friend to come pick her up,” he said. “They immediately traveled to the apartment on Whitney Avenue, where they actually forced entry into the apartment. There, they discovered the body of the woman.”
On Sunday, there were dark scuff marks visible on the white door where it apparently had been forced open by the mother and her friend.
Fortunato said the victim, believed to be a college student, was living alone in the apartment. He said there was no evidence of burglary.
Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said Martinez had been stabbed three times,
“It was a pretty brutal scene,” he said.
A maintenance man at the apartment complex, which is called Aladdin Castle, said the woman had moved in about six months ago. Neighbors said they hadn’t heard or seen any unusual activity Saturday.
Robert Markee, a resident of the complex, said he often saw Martinez and a child he believed was her daughter standing outside their apartment. “I just saw them this week. When I passed by, she gave me a wave,” he said.
Markee, a former Marine, said the complex is quiet and most neighbors keep to themselves.
He was shaken to hear about the murder.
“It’s just horrible to see a pregnant woman and her baby die,” he said.
Fortunato said deputies had no suspects or motive in the murder.
In the other incident, he said, deputies responded about midnight to a report of gunshots in the 300 block of Ruby Street, where they found a man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds lying in a parking lot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Anyone with information about either crime is asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
Editor’s note: This story was updated June 9 to reflect that Katherine Martinez was stabbed three times, rather than 30 or more.