July 18, 2004

07/18/04: Kevin Martin, 21, Des Moines, IA

Kevin Martin, 21, friends last saw him at the Royal Mile bar at 210 Fourth St in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday, July 18, 2004.

According to the family's website, Martin "was the kitchen manager at Flanagan's Bar and Grill in Des Moines, Iowa for several years. After working the night shift on the evening of July 17th, he and his co-workers/friends first went home to their apartment that they shared and decided to go to the Royal Mile Club utilizing one of the friend's vehicle." Martin left the bar on foot at 2:15 a.m., shortly after bar closing. His mother, Patricia Gilson-Martin said, "I still don't know the facts of what happened and what was said, but he left from there, and that was the last anybody has seen or heard from him." It appears that he never returned to his apartment.

Martin's watch, which he never took off, was found in the friend's vehicle.

Early on, police said they did not suspect foul play, and they mentioned that Martin might be depressed. Long-time friend and roommate Grant Hitsman seemed to concur, telling Katie Janseen at WOI TV that Martin had been unhappy for quite some time. "If he is gone, he's happier. Because he wasn't happy here," Hitsman said. He also indicated that he had prepared himself for the worst, "I'd like to think he's hiding out, but I've known Kevin for a long time, and I'm ready to accept what's happened."

The search for Kevin Martin

Gilson-Martin organized searches and scoured the southern downtown area in hopes of finding her son. She also started a blog about the investigation and a webpage about Kevin's life. At the time of his disappearance, she was living in upstate New York, caring for another son who was in the hospital. Another son, Brian, was serving in Iraq with the Army National Guard. He was able to come home in November 2004 to join his mother for a search. Volunteers searched the river banks because a psychic had directed them to look in the water. They found nothing.

On February 1, 2005 when an astute fisherman noticed what appeared to be large human bones in a pile of sticks, logs and trash on a frozen sandbar in the river and called police. The bones were near SE First St. SE under an abandoned railroad trestle--just downstream from where the Des Moines and Raccoon River merge and Principal Park.

Martin's mother expressed some relief at finally having a few answers and expressed her gratitude on her blog to the fisherman, "I don't have the words to express what I feel towards this man who was observant enough to spot something he did not think looked right and took the time to make a call. So many people would not have noticed. So many people would not have bothered picking up a phone. But he did. This man saved me from a life of never knowing. Never knowing whether Kevin was alive or dead, and that's the worst of all. Not knowing."

Investigators later said the remains were made up of a rib cage and other bones, along with some clothing, a belt and buckle and keys. A few of the items fit the description of Kevin's belongings.  The bones were sent to a lab in Kansas City, Missouri to undergo more tests. This testing determined that the bones were both animal and human. A forensic anthropologist also looked at the bones to help identify them. The skull was not recovered. In April 2005, a laboratory matched DNA from the bones to a family member of Kevin Martin.

Police said they don't know what happened to Martin or how he ended up in the water. "There's no way to definitively rule out foul play," Sgt. David Ness said, "but detectives have conducted a lengthy investigation and have no reason to believe foul play was involved."

It is unknown exactly how much money he may have had on him at the time of his disappearance. Furthermore, he had no credit cards of his own, and he left a car behind (he didn't have a driver's license). He was not known by any of his friends to use drugs, but he did have a drinking problem.

He was last seen wearing jeans, a green drop kick murphy t-shirt and white tennis shoes. The picture of him at the right was taken on the day he disappeared and is what he would have been wearing.

Facts of Interest
Name/age: Kevin R. Martin, 21
Last seen: Sun., 07/18/04 Royal Mile bar at 210 Fourth St in Des Moines, Iowa. He was last seen wearing jeans, a green drop kick murphy t-shirt and white tennis shoes.
Reported missing: 07/19/04
Residence: 1808 Pleasant Street, Des Moines
Employer: Flanagan's Restaurant and Lounge at 2120 Ingersoll Ave., DesMoines
Hometown: Schenectady, New York

If you have information regarding the disappearance of Kevin Martin, please contact the family at (928) 458-0616 or info@kevinmartin.com


Monique777 said...

This is such a sad story.

I would think anyone with a drinking problem would appear to be depressed. It is so sad he didn't get help for himself and find a better way to deal with life. He had so much life ahead of him.

His family and friends seem to agree he commited suicide. I wonder if he spoke about suicide to them or if this was the only way for his family to make sense of his death. If it is the latter, it leaves a lot of questions as to what happened.

God Bless his family and friends.

tennessee111 said...

The Martins do not respond to my mail. if they are watching check your spam.

tennessee111 said...

No they do not all agree he committed suicide. He was looking forward to the new superman movie rumored to be coming out with Brandon Routh who was born in Des Moines. He may not have given that japanese watch away either. Check out the comments at webslueths