What happened to Justin Gonzalez? Questions remain unanswered 4 years after teen's death

A Houston mom is still searching for answers after her 14-year-old son was discovered dead in a cow pasture back in 2018 in northwest Harris County

So what happened to 14-year-old Justin Gonzalez? His mom only knows that just beyond a dead end road and through a field, her son was found face down, dead in a pond four years ago.

"It was his birthday on June 18, 2021. He would have been 19 years old," says Gladys Martinez who still can’t believe her 14-year-old son was discovered dead in a one-foot-deep cattle pond back in 2018. 


"The first thing I thought that came to my mind was they gave my son drugs, they overdosed him. I don’t know," she adds. "They raped him. They killed him. It went everything through my mind. I was thinking the worst."

However, autopsy results show, "no water in his lungs," the grieving mother cries. "Nothing. No scratches. No scratch whatsoever."

His cause and manner of death are listed as undetermined. 

"I need to know what happened to my son," Martinez adds.


The Harris County Sheriff’s Office in a statement said, "homicide investigators thoroughly investigated this tragic incident and along with the Forensic Institute of Science determined there was no evidence of a homicide."

Gonzalez left home on Christmas Eve of 2017, but Martinez believes he was lured away with promises of becoming a rapper and not a runaway. She found people her 14-year-old had been talking with on social media but no one has told her or investigators where he was since December 2017 or how he ended up dead in a pond in February 2018. 

"According to his dental records it was my son, but I still had faith and hope that day that it was not him, but it was my son. I insisted. I wanted to see him, and it hurt me to see him like that, and they told me I couldn’t hug him. I wanted to hug him," Martinez says. "The first thing I told him when I saw him in that bed there in the freezer, I told him 'this is what I wanted to avoid happening to you. Why didn’t you listen to me?'"


Martinez says she finds peace because cardinals have been paying her visits since her son’s passing. In fact, two beautiful red birds stuck around while she talked with us near the spot where her son's body was discovered. 

"Even though this is where he was found, and it hurts me, but I feel peaceful because I see the tree," she says. 

Martinez often goes there and asks her son to tell her what happened to him. If you know the answer she hopes you will give it to her.

"If there’s anybody out there please say something," she says. "I can’t take it anymore. I just want answers."

HCSO says they consider this a closed case, but Martinez remains hopeful she will find out what happened to her son.

"I miss him every day," she says. "He was my partner in crime. He was my everything."