81-year-old man found dead in Caloosahatchee River after wandering from home

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

A senior citizen suffering from anxiety, depression and paranoia has been found dead in the Caloosahatchee River after wandering from his home.

Alexander Martinez, 81, came to Florida from New York with his family in 2001. He loved children, sports and the water. Martinez wandered from his home Wednesday morning and was found by detectives in the Caloosahatchee River in Iona.

Martinez’s wife and two daughters came together and spoke to WINK News about the husband and father they will always love and miss dearly.

“After they moved out, my dad became a crossing guard,” said daughter Denise Martinez. “His biggest passion in life. That’s the sad part. Everybody knew ‘Mr. Alex.’ I have kids; all my son’s friends would be like, ‘Oh, I love your grandpa, you know, great crossing guard.’ You know, my kids played baseball; they will all recognize Mr. Alex and come up to him. He did that for many, many years. He knew every kid’s name.”

Denise Martinez came in from St. Augustine to meet with her mother and big sister Natalie after hearing the heartbreaking news.

“We hope he went peacefully… there wasn’t anything that elongated this process,” Denise said.
“He’s at peace. He’s at peace.”

Natalie Risher reached out to WINK when Martinez first went missing to help spread the word. As he aged, Martinez began to suffer from anxiety and paranoia. His family members did everything they could to take care of him.

“I would say to those out there that are dealing with this kind of mental illness, whether it be a family member, a friend or yourself, there is help,” Risher said. “And I always say, ‘God gave us physicians. God gave us resources, he gave us medication, therapists… seek them out.’ Don’t be ashamed.”

Martinez’s family said he lived his life to the fullest throughout his 81 years. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has not given an update on Martinez’s official cause of death.

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