Family Of Missing Columbus Woman Searching For Answers


The Rice County Sheriff's Department said Friday night, they believe a body found in a wooded area in Minnesota is missing Ohio woman, 26 year-old Chelsea Martinez (pictured on the left). While investigators are still waiting on positive identification, her family says they know it’s her.

"Never in a million years would you think this is something that's going to happen to your family,” said Chelsea’s dad, Christopher Smuck.

Christopher and Christine Smuck aren’t sure what happens next. They don’t know what to do when you have to bury a child. They say the last 24 hours have been a serious struggle.

"Right now it's so hard to believe. It's like we're going to wake up and this isn't really going to have happened. She's going to come home. It still doesn't feel real,” said Stepmother Christine Stout-Smuck.

The two don’t know the circumstances surrounding the death of their daughter. At a family picnic just last month, they said Chelsea Martinez seemed happy.

"She's just a beautiful girl. A beautiful girl. Mother of three, and a wonderful person,” said her dad. The Smuck’s haven’t heard from the Rice County Sheriff’s Department in Minnesota Saturday with any new information about their daughter.

A CBS affiliate in Minnesota, WCCO, reports a sheriff’s deputy found Martinez’s car abandoned in a park on Monday. The Martinez family hadn’t been notified until Wednesday.

Minnesota police arrested Jason Nisbit on Friday on suspicion of second degree murder. They say Nisbit led them into a wooded area to, what is believed to be, the body of Chelsea Martinez. Police also believe Nisbit lured Martinez to Minnesota over the internet.

"To find out that she was murdered and then by somebody she met on the internet goes to prove that there's nobody you can trust on the internet. It's not a place to trust people,” said Smuck.

Smuck wants his daughter to come home. He said knowing the police have found her, doesn’t give him closure at all.

"I'll always wish that she was back. She's dead, she shouldn't be dead. I'm her parent. I should be dead before my child is dead. There is no closure,” he said.

Nisbit is expected to be formally charged on Monday.

In the mean-time, the family of Chelsea Martinez is raising money to bring her back to Columbus and arrange a funeral.

You can donate at any Fifth Third Bank in Columbus, under the memorial account for Chelsea Martinez and Children.