Christian Ponce-Martinez had only been in the United States for three months when he turned a Georgia community upside down. After a beloved grandfather went missing, surveillance footage led authorities to Martinez’s home, but nothing could prepare them for the horrific scene they’d discover there.
When 25-year-old Christian Ponce Martinez moved to Clayton County, Georgia from Mexico, his new neighbors likely didn’t think much of it. Sadly, their world would be torn apart when Martinez enacted a vicious crime on Landover Circle in Morrow, the details of which are downright gut-churning. The gruesome discovery, showing the absolute viciousness of Martinez, was made just hours after an elderly man was reported missing.
Lula Page became concerned when she tried to call her 76-year-old husband Robert, who she’d been married to for half a century, but he wasn’t answering her calls. So, she returned home only to find the front door of their home wide open, and Robert was nowhere to be found. That’s when she reported him missing to authorities, according to Inside Edition. Hours later, he’d be found, but it wouldn’t be good news.
Using a neighbor’s surveillance video, police officers discovered that Martinez was on Robert Page’s property prior to the elderly man’s disappearance, which led police to the residence where Martinez had been renting a room. There, they found Martinez hiding under a couch with Robert Page’s cell phone, ABC 6 reported. When police noticed a trail of blood, they were led to a horrific discovery, scattered about the property, which painted a horrific picture of a beloved grandfather’s last moments.
“The officers went to the back of the residence and located the offender hiding under a couch, acting very nervous and suspicious,” Maj. Craig Hammer said. “Officers then noticed a trail of blood. They followed it and it was Robert Page’s dismembered remains.” Martinez had not only murdered Page, police said, but he had then dismembered the man’s body, leaving pieces of him in various places. “Part of his body was located in a cooler, and other parts of his body were located under two tarps in the backyard,” said Hammer.
Making matters worse, investigators have no indication of a motive. Although Martinez had moved next door from Mexico three months prior, the men’s paths had not crossed. According to police, the two did not know each other. It is also unknown whether Martinez came to America legally, but local authorities are working with federal investigators to make that determination.
Meanwhile, a community is shaken and a family is devastated by the senseless and horrific crime. Robert Page was, by all accounts, a “good man,” Hammer said during a press conference. “According to his wife, he never left his residence, he always stayed at home … he got along with other residents and was always a good gentleman,” Hammer said, 11 Alive reported.
“He’s irreplaceable. The personality he had was priceless. Nobody will ever be able to top him,” Robert Page’s grandson, Bobby Austin, said. “Even if you weren’t related to him, if he saw that you were a younger nice person, he would say, ‘You’re my grandson or granddaughter’ or ‘You’re my son or daughter,’ something like that. He was a very (embracing) person … and to go in such a tragic way, it just hit us all really hard at the moment.”
Neighbors were also shocked by the horrific situation. “He was a great guy. He helped me build my driveway and all. We talked every day and he helped me build my fence and my gate and all, and we were just friends,” one neighbor recalled, speaking of Robert. “I don’t have any words for it. It was just crazy to know something that outrageous could happen right next door.”
Christian Ponce Martinez was arrested, charged with malice murder, and held in the Clayton County jail without bail. According to police, he has been uncooperative and combative. Because of his alleged behavior at the police department, an obstruction charge has been added against him, WSB-TV 2 reported.
Robert Page was “very well-respected in the neighborhood,” Nancy Jones, a friend of the Page family, said. “So, this is a shock for all of us that something so brutal could happen.” Indeed, it’s difficult to understand how such a good man, who enjoyed staying home and seemingly minded his own business, could meet such a tragic end in the one place he should have been safe. Sadly, a monster was living among the neighborhood, and no one knew it until it was too late.