Gilroy cops seek missing mom after murder-suicide

March 16, 2012 5:46:06 PM PDT
Gilroy police are looking for the mother of an Iraq War veteran accused of killing his little sister and himself. Martha Gutierrez has not been seen since authorities discovered the bodies of her 11-year-old daughter Lucero and 27-year-old son Abel.

There is no one picture that conveys the pain of this crime, not the memorial for 11-year-old Lucero Luna or the somber face of Korean War Veteran Bob Diaz at the VFW hall in Gilroy. "It really hurts when you see a fellow veteran come back and then these tragedies happen. It's something you don't want to think about that's going to happen, but it does happen," Diaz says.

Police say before Specialist Abel Gutierrez killed his little sister and then himself on Wednesday, the Iraq War veteran shot his mother Martha Gutierrez inside his car. "Based on the evidence inside the car, we fear the worst. We believe that she is, if not critically wounded, that she's dead," Gilroy police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao.

Police are asking the public to remember if they have seen a green Ford Mustang with a Washington State license plate "169VVJ." Any sighting on Tuesday or Wednesday could help them narrow the search for Martha Gutierrez.

Vietnam veteran Joe Gonzales did not know Gutierrez, but says he does know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. "We're actually walking wounded. We might look healthy and everything, but we're not. We're not. Deep inside, we're hurting so bad that it ain't funny," he says.

Diaz and Gonzalez do not talk about PTSD easily, but say multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have already revealed a new generation of problems. "They go over there and they're killing people, and that's not something they want to do, and then they send them back again, and a lot of them crack up and they fall apart," Diaz says.

Specialist Gutierrez did two tours in the Middle East. A Washington National Guard spokesperson said the last tour was voluntary. It was also learned that he took part in a military training exercise just this month.

Anyone with information about the crime or the whereabouts of Martha Gutierrez is asked to call the Gilroy Police Department at (408) 846-0350.


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