Extent of injuries revealed for man whose wife, daughter were slain

There were times when Gaudia Martinez-Seal was unsure if her brother would pull through.

Arturo Martinez, 39, survived a brutal random attack last month at his central valley home, but his wife and daughter did not.

He suffered repeated blows to his head with a claw hammer in the April 15 assault, resulting in at least 17 fractures to his skull. He had more than three dozen staples inserted in his head, Martinez-Seal said.

Las Vegas police couldn't speak to him during their initial investigation because his condition was so dire.

On Sunday, 28 days after what authorities called one of the most horrific crimes they've handled over the past decade, Martinez was released from University Medical Center.

Martinez-Seal said one word captured her feelings of the moment: "Miracle."

"It's a miracle that God gave him back to us," she said.

Martinez-Seal spoke with the Review-Journal in a telephone interview. She detailed her older brother's injuries and what his road to recovery will entail.

It was the first time specifics about Martinez's condition were made public.

Police have arrested Bryan Clay, 22, in connection with the slayings of Ignacia "Yadira" Martinez, 38, Martinez's wife, and his 10-year-old daughter, Karla.

Police said Clay broke into the Martinez family home near Washington Avenue and Rancho Drive and used a hammer to beat three of them. Karla Martinez also was raped, authorities said.

Martinez's two boys, ages 9 and 4, were not harmed even though they were also in the house.

Police were alerted to the crimes the morning of April 16 when the 9-year-old went to school and said his mother and sister were dead inside their home.

Martinez-Seal said her brother is able to walk. She said doctors have told the family that his road to recovery will take at least a year. His brain is swollen, and he's still weak.

Martinez began speech therapy 10 days ago. He is able to speak in English and Spanish but stutters at times, Martinez-Seal said.

"It takes him a while to get the words out," she said.

Martinez-Seal said her brother doesn't remember most of the attack on him and his family. He was knocked unconscious, she said.

His head injuries were so serious that doctors induced a coma, which is done to help the brain heal.

Martinez is coming to grips with the fact that his wife and daughter are dead. He doesn't know some of the gruesome details of their killings.

On Friday, he attended their funeral with the permission of doctors.

About 500 people gathered at St. Christopher Catholic Church in North Las Vegas. Martinez waited in a back room with his two sons. When the services finished, they met privately with the rest of the family, according to Silverio Olmedo, his brother-in-law.

Martinez is staying at his sister's Las Vegas home during his recovery.

He met his future wife when he was 19 and they were studying law in Mexico. But a family hardship derailed their plans.

They eventually made it to the United States chasing the American Dream, which at first consisted of odd jobs including washing cars, packaging vegetables and working in the fast-food industry, his family said.

In Las Vegas, Martinez worked as an electrician by day and managed the Real KO Boxing Club in North Las Vegas at night. His wife kept the books.

At the gym, Martinez was one of several trainers who taught children and adults how to box.

Cynthia Lazos, a family friend whose teenage son boxed at Martinez's gym, said she was excited he was out of the hospital.

She said Martinez's fighting spirit kept him alive.

Martinez-Seal said it's up to a higher power to decide Clay's fate.

"Let go and let God," she said.

Martinez-Seal said she's confident her family will get justice for the slayings of Karla and Ignacia.

She acknowledged her brother has a difficult road ahead of him that includes speech and physical therapy, counseling and neurological appointments. But his fighting - lessons he undoubtedly learned inside the ring - will guide him, she said.

"He's been so strong for his kids," Martinez-Seal said. "He's such a fighter. He's been a fighter. He's fighting once again."

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.