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  Body of Month-Old Child Is Found in Microwave

By Allan Lengel and Phuong Ly
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 24, 1999; Page B2

A month-old baby boy was found dead in a microwave oven yesterday in a home in Lanexa, Va., about 35 miles east of Richmond, authorities said.

The infant, identified as Joseph Lewis Martinez, had burns on his body consistent with those a microwave would produce, said Marcella F. Fierro, chief state medical examiner in Richmond. Fierro said she was awaiting the results of tests and additional information before determining the cause of death.

No charges were filed, and the investigation is continuing, the New Kent County Sheriff's Department said in a prepared statement.

The department said a deputy responded about 5:45 a.m. yesterday to a call reporting a missing infant and found the baby in the microwave in a one-story home in rural New Kent County. The baby lived with his young parents at the home, a neighbor said.

The neighbor, who asked not to be identified, described the parents as friendly.

He said the father, Joe Martinez, 18, a plumber's apprentice, grew up on the block and was living in his parents' house with the infant's mother, who also grew up in the neighborhood.

"I talked to him about a week ago," the neighbor said. "He was very happy to be a father. He said it was a good baby."

The neighbor said he saw several sheriff's cars at the house yesterday morning, and "we heard . . . that something was amiss. Very upsetting, very shocking. I saw family members going over there this morning. We didn't pry. We let them have their privacy."

Commonwealth's Attorney Linwood Gregory said that the death was being investigated as suspicious but that no determination had been made about whether foul play was involved, the Associated Press reported.

© 1999 The Washington Post Company

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