Home of Battle Creek Attempted Kidnapping Suspect Destroyed in Suspicious Fire
Days after charges were dismissed, the home belonging to an attempted kidnapping suspect is destroyed in a suspicious fire.
On May 24, 2021, 38-year-old Robert Martinez was charged with a felony count of Attempted Kidnapping and a Misdemeanor charge of Prowling for two separate incidents on May 21.
Battle Creek Police responded to an area of the 1600 block of West Michigan Avenue in Urbandale around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 21, after witnesses spotted a man get out of his vehicle and attempt to take the woman into his car from the bike she was riding. A nearby motorist saw the incident and intervened. Officers were already in the Urbandale area after a man was seen in the backyard of a home a few blocks away on Lacey Avenue and was chased off by a resident there.
In the incident earlier that day, Martinez was spotted driving in the area and was then found in a backyard where a woman called for help. The woman’s brother chased him out of the yard. The Martinez was initially issued a citation for prowling in that incident, but due to legislation passed earlier this year; people committing nonviolent crimes are not arrested.
The attempted kidnapping charges were dismissed last week. Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert said the attempting kidnapping charge was dismissed because investigators were unable to find the alleged victim. Prosecutor Gilbert told the Battle Creek Enquirer that he believes the woman is homeless but that if she is found, the charges could be reinstated.
Early Sunday morning, just days after charges were dropped, Martinez's mobile home was destroyed in a fire. The Bedford Township Fire Department chief told the Battle Creek Enquirer that the blaze is suspicious and remains under investigation.
Fire Chief said that it appears the fire started on a mattress in the mobile home and that Martinez was allegedly staying with family members at the time. He said the doors of the home were supposed to be locked but that fire crews found the doors unlocked upon arrival.
Calhoun County Prosecutor Gilbert said that after his office reviewed video footage of the incident with Martinez entering a yard on Lacey Avenue to approach two young boys, he has resubmitted attempting kidnapping charges to a court magistrate.