Family of victim in unsolved Austin murder still searching for answers

The family of a murdered South Austin man shared new details about the case with FOX 7 Austin. They hope it will encourage someone to come forward.

Nikolas Martinez was murdered on July 23, 2021.

"It’s just like tearing out your heart," said Nikolas’ father, Martin Martinez.

More than two months later, circumstances surrounding the 23-year-old's death remain vague. "We feel so useless and helpless," said Nikolas’ mother, Wendy Martinez.

Wendy and Martin Martinez are asking their son's killer to "come forward." 

"You probably need help with something. I don't know what that is but that’s not something someone does… They need help so this doesn’t happen again." said Wendy Martinez. 

A middle child, Nikolas grew up in Bertram. He spent three years in upstate New York before moving back to Texas. In 2020 he moved to Austin. At the time of his death, he was an employee at Qal-Tek in Round Rock. He worked as a Construction Materials Testing Technician. 

"Sometimes it's like he's just off doing a trip, you know, for work… But then we get together and he's not there." cried Wendy Martinez. 

Nikolas was murdered in Austin on a Friday. He planned to spend the rest of that weekend in San Antonio for his sister’s 22nd birthday. "It’s hard to be all together with him missing," said Wendy Martinez. 

The day Nikolas died, the Martinez family told FOX 7 Austin: 

  • Nikolas traveled to Houston and back for work, settling into his unit at The Brook Apartments in South Austin. 
  • At 8:30 p.m. he spoke with his brother about his sister's birthday party. 
  • At 9:50 p.m. he spoke with his sister about the birthday party. His parents say someone "interrupted" that call — and he briefly put his sister "on hold." They do not know who he was speaking with, but they would like to identify and talk with that person. 
  • He played video games online with his nephew.
  • At an unknown time Nikolas told his nephew ‘Hey, I got to go grab my laundry. I'll be right back.’ 
  • Nikolas’ laundry was a short walk away in a separate building. He never returned.

"My nephew stayed up waiting for him to come back." sobbed Wendy Martinez. 

Martin and Wendy Martinez say Nikolas left the apartment with only his keys — he left his wallet and cigarettes behind.  At 10:30 p.m. Nikolas called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher he had been stabbed. 

He drove himself to a Conoco gas station less than one mile from his apartment. "And then he got out of the car and tried to get people to help him. And that was it. It was too late." said Wendy Martinez. 

Nikolas was pronounced dead at Conoco at 10:47 p.m. 

Police found a knife with neon highlights inside Nikolas’ car. They want to identify its owner. "The knife was with him. That's another thing I don't understand. Were they in the car, were they breaking in? Did he catch them?" Wendy Martinez questioned. 

Photo of the knife the Austin Police Department believes was used to stab 23-year-old Nikolas Eugenio Martinez on July 23, 2021.

According to the Martinez family, police visited the laundry room but did not find anything. A few days later, the family visited the laundry room on their own. They found Nikolas’ laundry basket and his clothes inside a dryer. "So he never got there," said Wendy Martinez. 

The Martinez family is asking the community for help. "My son deserves some kind of justice and closure. We deserve that. We're good people. We're everybody. You know, everyday people. We’re a middle-class, hardworking family." said Wendy Martinez. 

Nikolas is remembered as sweet, fair, and quiet. He liked theater — his mom jokes he had a "rubber face" because he was so expressive. He also enjoyed video games and anime. 

The Martinez family is offering an $8,000 reward to help find the person responsible. 

Crime Stoppers is also offering up to $1,000. 

Detectives are asking anyone with information or video of the incident to call APD Homicide at 512-974-TIPS, email, utilize the Crime Stoppers tip line at 512-472-8477 (TIPS), or the Crime Stoppers app. You may remain anonymous.  You can also submit tips by downloading APD’s mobile app, Austin PD, free on iPhone and Android.

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