Amnesiac finds her pre-memory loss self `wimpy'

Monday, September 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- After weeks of searching for her identity,
Tina Martinez is back in Albuquerque, N.M., getting re-acquainted
with her family and letting everyone know how it's going to be from
now on.

"Maybe I still don't remember who I am," Mrs. Martinez, 37,
told the Tulsa World for Sunday's editions. "But I know who I am.

"First of all, I don't want anybody babying me. I can take care
of myself," she said. "And I don't need anybody to tell me what
to do. This is my life and I know how I want to live it."

Hard to believe this is the same woman who stayed at a women's
shelter in Ada while federal authorities worked to establish her

For nearly five weeks, Mrs. Martinez didn't even know her name.
Officials at the shelter called her "Angel."

What happened before Aug. 14, when a mysterious accident left
her bleeding on the side of a New Mexico highway, is still a blank
in her mind. Little did she know, but she was only a short distance
from the trailer home where she, her husband and four teen-age
children live.

So she hitchhiked aimlessly. A truck driver dropped her off at a
stop along Interstate 35 near Springer, and a Carter County
sheriff's deputy picked her up.

When a distant relative who lives in Oklahoma saw her picture in
the Tulsa World and read the story, she realized who Mrs. Martinez

At first Mrs. Martinez, who had a marked knowledge of animals,
particularly dogs, feared she wouldn't like the life she could not

But, "I do. Thank God, I really do," she concluded.

"I'm finding out that my family are wonderful people. I don't
have any doubt that I'm going to be happy here."

She's also met her six sisters and four brothers, whom she
described as "... all neat. Very neat."

She says her children ask her a lot questions, which she answers
as best she can, she said.

Her husband, Jerry Martinez, "... is a sweetie," she said.
"He's been so gentle and patient, very understanding."

Martinez was driving the car on the night his wife somehow
suffered a head wound. He told police she was acting erratically
and jumped out of the car while they were stopped at a traffic

She was unhurt as she disappeared into the heavy rain and must
have been in an accident later that night, he said.

Albuquerque officials, however, were investigating whether the
couple had been fighting in the car and whether the car was still
moving when Mrs. Martinez left it.

Mrs. Martinez said she believes her husband.

"I don't know him too well, yet. But he doesn't seem like that
kind of man who would hurt anybody."

Still, Mrs. Martinez is living with one of her sisters, not her
husband. She isn't sure about the future of their relationship.

"I can't say that I'm married to him, not really, because I
don't really know him yet. But we'll talk. We'll get to know each
other. And we'll see what happens."

The only person she's become re-acquainted with and doesn't like
is the old Tina Martinez, a woman who hadn't held a job for 15
years and didn't have a driver's license.

"That woman was kind of wimpy, a sissy. I think she let people
push her around."

The new Mrs. Martinez plans to start college this spring and get
a degree in animal science.

"Maybe work for an equestrian hospital or at a stud ranch. I
want to be outside and I want to stay busy."