42-Year-Old Cold Case

By: Alan Jones
By: Alan Jones

There is no statute of limitations on solving and prosecuting a murder case, but as time wears on, evidence may get lost, memories fade and witnesses disappear.

Fred, Carl, John and Ted are the four younger brothers of Ann Bergman who was shot and killed in August of 1962. The 42-year old case hasn't been touched by investigators since 1973.

Carl Bergman recalls, “They had left the Town Lounge going toward his car but never made it. They found his car where he parked it that night.”

He is 32-year old Octavio “Chico” Martinez, a man with a womanizing reputation who had been dating 18-year-old Ann for about two months. The Town Lounge was at the corner of West State and Winnebago, on Rockford's near west side.

John Bergman tells 23 News anchor Alan Jones, “I had met Chico and he seemed to be a pleasant fellow. Ann was proud to have him with her that evening and she was proud to be able to introduce him to my mother.”

On August 8, it's believed Chico and Ann were forced into another car and driven south to Beltline Road near the airport where Chico was shot and dumped from a speeding car. They left the Lounge around one o'clock. His body was found shortly before two. Ann was nowhere to be found.

Carl says, “We were anticipating good results relative to my sister, but as the case progressed day by day, we realized the outcome of her whereabouts kept diminishing.”

Deputy Chief Kurt Ditzler with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department explains, “Miss Bergman was missing for six days so there was the potential for a kidnapping. They finally found her body a week later down by Byron on the 15th.”

Rockford newspapers sensationalized the double murder, reporting them as a gangland slaying. Stories of Chico Martinez smuggling marijuana from Mexico were common in most reports, but no firm connection could be made by police.

Ditzler says, “According to the state's attorney at the time, that was a rumor, but there was nothing to substantiate it or rule it out either.”

So the Bergman's continue to wait and hope that whoever is responsible comes forward.
The family had hoped there might be some evidence that modern techniques would uncover, but Deputy Chief Ditzler says no physical evidence exists that could be tested.

If you have any information on the murders of Chico Martinez and Ann Bergman, call the Winnebago County Sheriff's department or Crimestoppers.


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