Elisa Sue Martinez
17 Years Old

November 18, 1972 to February 17, 1990

Elisa Martinez - how God danced the day she was born, and how His heart must have broken the night someone took her life.

Elisa Martinez of Graceville, Minnesota, was a young, vivacious girl in love with love and living it to the fullest. She was a very caring, kind, and compassionate person. Her smile and contagious laughter are missed by all who knew her. She was full of dreams and goals - some she achieved, but of course, not all.

At the time of her death, Elisa was a junior in high school and an honor student. She enjoyed music, playing trumpet in the Concert Band and the Jazz Band. Her favorite piece to solo was "Somewhere Out There." She also sang in the choir and participated in sports such as basketball, volleyball and golf, and was a cheerleader for boys' basketball.

In February of 1989, Elisa participated in the Close-Up Program in Washington D.C. and worked that summer at an amusement park. She used the money she earned to purchase a car which she had for only six months. Elisa loved talking on the phone and writing letters to her many friends. On weekends she would talk on the phone until the wee hours of the morning.

The void she has left makes us all aware of how fragile and precious life is. Songs have been written in her memory, inspired by her short life.

Elisa was the best daughter and friend anyone could wish for. She is loved and missed so much by her parents, her sister Carla, and a host of family and friends. Elisa left many wonderful memories. We know she is near in spirit. Elisa is our angel!


On the evening of February 16, 1990, 17-year-old Elisa Martinez left her home in rural Graceville, Minnesota, to go out to dinner for a late Valentine's celebration with her best friend, Jill Drewicke and her family. Elisa left Jill's house around 11:30 pm to drive to Beardsley to visit her boyfriend Bob Haukos; however, Elisa never made it to Bob's house.

Elisa was stopped in Beardsley by Kenneth Pilcher who asked her for a ride. Elisa's family does not believe she would have willingly given Pilcher a ride because of the location and because she was on her way to see Bob. When Elisa was not home on time, her family called Bob and learned she had never arrived at his house. Her family reported her missing to the sheriff's office and began searching for her. Her car was found the next morning at 8:30 am in a ditch, five miles northwest of Beardsley. No one was in the car, but there were footprints in the snow leading to an abandoned farmsite. Elisa's horribly beaten body was found there in an old granary. As law enforcement officers responded to the scene, an officer was flagged down by a lady who reported that Kenneth Pilcher had come to their farm at 3:00 am stating he had been involved in an accident and asking for a ride into town. Pilcher was apprehended and later in the day confessed to Elisa's murder. He was convicted of three counts of first degree murder and sentenced to life, and two counts of second degree murder and sentenced to 30 years.

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Elisa Martinez