Police, family want answers in man’s beating death

Twenty-seven hours passed between when a Gwinnett County man left home and when he was found dead.

Darinel Martinez Lopez, 26, was beaten to death, police said Wednesday. A passer-by spotted the man’s body Sunday afternoon at the Bella Vista Apartments on Satellite Boulevard and called police.

Days later, Gwinnett police continue to investigate the homicide, but have no suspects or witnesses. And Lopez’s family is anxious for answers.

“Please talk to police. Don’t be afraid,” the victim’s sister, Marlei Martinez, urged Wednesday.

Martinez told Channel 2 Action News that her brother left home Saturday afternoon and didn’t return that night. As she returned from church Sunday afternoon, Martinez saw police at a nearby apartment complex off Satellite Boulevard.

Fearing the worst, Martinez carried a picture of her brother to officers at the scene. It was him.

An autopsy confirmed Lopez had been beaten to death, Cpl. Jake Smith with Gwinnett police said Wednesday. But investigators have few details about what happened to Lopez.

“In fact, we don’t have any information on the whereabouts of our victims for the 27 hours he was gone,” Smith said.

Anyone with information on the death is asked to contact Gwinnett police at 770-513-5000.