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Greenfield Police take a new look at Martin Macareno murder

Greenfield Police take a new look at Martin Macareno murder

Greenfield, King City PDs announce renewed effort to solve 11-year-old murder of former Farmersville school board president Martin Macareno

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

FARMERSVILLE – The family of a Farmersville man who was beaten to death is pushing for law enforcement to take a new look at the 11-year-old unsolved murder.

On May 22, Ruben Macareno, representing the entire Macareno family, attended a press conference in the council chambers of the City of Greenfield, Calif. to hear a joint team of law enforcement agencies renew thief efforts to solve the murder of Martin Macareno.

“We hope that justice can finally come to Martin and the rest of the family,” said Ruben, Martin’s younger brother. “We are appreciative that the agencies picked up Martin’s case considering that there are multiple homicide cases since his death. We believe that justice will prevail and we support the agencies and will provide any information and or names needed to help in their investigation.”

The agencies of King City and Greenfield police departments in Monterey County will renew their investigations and will begin from the very beginning and work its way up to current day. Martin’s body was found just after midnight on July 5, 2007 beaten in a garage in Greenfield, Calif., a town of about 16,000 along Highway 101. An autopsy report from the Monterey County Coroner’s office stated that Martin, 42, died from multiple blunt trauma injuries to the head.

A cell phone call led police to the detached garage at a home across an alley from Martin’s. The garage was being rented by two Mexican immigrants — Antonio Abran Navarro, 18, and Alberto Meza Rios, 32 —  for two weeks before they disappeared the night of the murder. Greenfield police issued a statewide alert for the two men on July 11, 2007 and contacted Mexico’s consulate in Los Angeles in case they try to flee to their native country. The suspects were last seen driving a white 1997 Ford Ranger pickup with blue pin striping and California license 5MO8476, stolen from the garage’s owner that night. Police are still unsure how the two men knew Macareno. The Governor’s Office has a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest in this case.  Anyone with information about Martin’s slaying is asked to call Greenfield police at 831-674-5111 or 831-385-8311.

Martin was born and raised in Farmersville before embarking on an adventure to attend Fresno State University and USC, earn a spot as a regular dancer on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand from 1980 to 1985, work as a production assistant on the dance show Solid Gold, and start his own production studio, Silver Star Productions, which produced the regional dance show LA’s Dance Freeway. In the 1990s he returned home to Farmersville where he started Projecto Farmersville, a migrant education and information program, and served as president of the now defunct Farmersville Chamber of Commerce. 

Locals remember Martin as the former president of the Farmersville Unified School District board before he was recalled in a politically charged environment that pitted him and the district’s Superintendent Janet Jones. Martin, who said he felt the district was not making enough progress for migrant students, was elected to the school board in 2003 and then voted along with other board members to fire Jones, who Martin accused of campaigning against him in the election. The board voted to replace Jones with Carlos Vega, who was fired two weeks later and replaced by Sadie Nashitani. Nashitani was later fired and Jones rehired after Macareno and Blanca Sandoval were replaced in a recall election by two former board members, Al Vanderslice and Don Mason, in 2005. The political circus cost the district more than $400,000 in guaranteed contracts.

After being recalled from the Farmersville Unified school board, Martin moved to Greenfield where he returned to his activist roots. He was elected to the local school board and began working as a coordinator for La Union del Pueble Entero and Poder Popular in Monterey County where he published migrant resource guides and started three pilot Poder Popular communities. Poder Popular helps farmworkers improve their quality of life by teaching them how to become involved citizens and community leaders. La Union del Pueblo Entero, a nonprofit community agency founded by civil rights leader Cesar Chavez.

He was invited speak at the First Five State Conference to demonstrate organizing techniques that have helped farm worker families become involved in schools.

He was instrumental in bringing in art and literacy to South Monterey County focused around health to the Triquiand Mixteco indigenous  community. He also spoke on the subject “Challenges facing minority elected officials” at the California School Board Association Conference in 2005. At the time of his death Martin worked for the Office of the President of the University of California and was an active community activists in Monterey County.

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