‘He loved to enjoy himself.’ Loved ones mourn Paterson man who drowned in the Delaware River

Authorities found the body of Jose Madera Martinez, 19, Sunday after he went missing Thursday while swimming in the river.

Matt Trapani and Eliecer Marte

Jul 18, 2023, 2:31 AM

Updated 332 days ago

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Friends and family are mourning the loss of a Paterson man who drowned in the Delaware River last week.
Jose Madera Martinez, 19, was an East Side High School graduate and a sophomore at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was majoring in computer science. Loved ones say he loved to dance, play basketball and live his life to the fullest.
A makeshift memorial sits outside the family’s Paterson home. Inside, friends and family grieved his death. Martinez’s body was found Sunday near the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area after going missing on Thursday.
Family members say that Martinez had gone swimming with friends. It was his first time in the river. The friends told the family that Martinez apparently got tired and was not able to keep going.
Officials say that he was found about a mile downriver from where friends told park rangers that he was struggling in the current. It was around 8 p.m. on Thursday.
Martinez’s best friend, Jose Class, says that he gathered a group of friends to look for him.
“I made a crew. We have been searching for three days,” Class says.
They had hoped to find him alive, but they were too late.
“He loved to enjoy himself because he always thought you’ve got to live it up because you don’t know when something is going to happen,” Class says.
Loved ones say they have many videos of Martinez being the life of the party. They say that he loved to dance. They say he was an affectionate big brother to his 13-year-old sibling and a caring son to his mom and dad.
“[I’m going to mostly miss] his energy and how he would always bring the energy up. And if you were ever in a bad mood he will help you get better,” says cousin Oljaris Vasquez.
Martinez’s father was in such shock that he was not able to speak to News 12. His mom is in the Dominican Republic where she underwent surgery for a hernia and was not allowed to travel.
Martinez’s remains will be taken to the Dominican Republic on Saturday.


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