PENDER COUNTY — The Pender County Sheriff’s office is asking for public assistance in its search for a former resident of Leland and Hampstead, a 35-year old man named Pedro Cruz-Martinez who is wanted for alleged sex crimes involving a child.
Cruz-Martinez, a former native of Mexico, is approximately five-foot-two-inches to five-foot-four-inches in height and weighs approximately 170 to 180 pounds. On Sunday the Aiken Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina found the suspect’s vehicle at a relative’s house, but investigators said they do not know his location.
“Cruz-Martinez’s whereabouts are currently unknown and it is suspected Cruz-Martinez is attempting to leave the country for Mexico,” Captain Billy Sanders said in a release on Sunday.
On Friday, Feb. 1, Pender investigators began investigating the suspect’s involvement in numerous alleged sexual assaults of a 12-year old girl. The case concerns alleged sexual acts from 2016 to 2017 when the victim was 9 to 10 years old.
Another underage girl came forward after the initial investigation reporting the same offenses, according to the release.
The investigation led Pender detectives to obtain a warrant charging Cruz-Martinez with one count of First Degree Statutory Sex Offense, one count of Indecent Liberties with a Child, and one count of Sexual Battery. Sanders said that more charges are expected at a later date.
He also said that Cruz-Martinez has relatives in South Carolina and has lived in New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick Counties, along with Texas and Arizona.
Anyone with information about Cruz-Martinez, this case, or his location is asked to contact the Pender County Sheriff’s Office, Detective-Sergeant Steve Clinard at 910-259-1515.