By Tuesday, the Mexican immigrant's roommates became worried, searching for him at neighborhood hospitals. Then Friday police came knocking at the door.Harbor police discovered Martinez's lifeless body floating in the water near 127th Street and Lax Avenue in College Point, authorities said."He quit his job three weeks ago ... he didn't have work," said 21-year-old Miguel Hernandez, who lives in the house at 111-83 43rd Ave. where Martinez rented a basement apartment."He had one last chance (to get a job) ... he didn't show up," said fellow roommate Ruben Corona, 32. "He never came back."A spokeswoman for the city medical examiner's office said the man's cause of death was still under investigation and that no official identification had been made. But Hernandez and Corona, who spent their free time playing video games with Martinez Ñ war and car-racing games were his favorites Ñ said police were thinking his death was a suicide."He didn't have any marks or anything," Hernandez said of his friend and roommate, indicating that the police told him there were no signs of foul play.Sitting on the steps of the two-story, white house adjacent to the Grand Central Parkway where they had lived with Martinez, Hernandez and Corona said suicide seemed plausible but that they had not seen any warning signs.The day he left looking for work, he seemed "normal," Hernandez said.The pair described Martinez, who came from the San Cristobal area near Mexico's capital city, as a pleasant guy. When the three came on tough times, they relied on each other, sharing cash for MetroCards, food and the like."We lived here like a family," Hernandez said. "When one didn't have work, we all pitched in," Corona added.It was unclear whether Martinez quit his job as a dishwasher in Manhattan, where his cousin and only relative in New York lived, or was fired.Hernandez said Martinez had requested some personal time off before his job ended. After losing his job, he started looking for another. In fact, when Martinez did not return home the night of June 12, his roommates assumed the best."We thought he was working," Corona said, "but he didn't come back."Hernandez and Corona said they were trying to collect money from friends to help Martinez's cousin with the cost of sending the man's remains home for burial.Martinez left behind a girlfriend in Mexico, his roommates said.Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2004 Community News Group
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