Roman Martín was born the youngest of five quintuplets in Scottsdale, Arizona to a wealthy used-furniture manufacturer and his homemaker wife. Roman’s fascination with crime began shortly after his birth when an ex-con climbed a ladder to the second-story of his home, crawled into the nursery, and snatched him from his crib. As the kidnapper later told the local press after his arrest, “He was the best one of the litter. You could tell he was a little outlaw from the gleam in his eye.” As it turned out, the kidnapper had taken baby Roman for his own wife, a former local police officer, who was herself infertile. At her sentencing hearing, she told the judge, “They seemed like they had more than they could handle so we took one.”
Fortunately, a private investigator hired by Roman’s father was able to retrieve and safely return him to his parents. Wanting to put as much distance between themselves and the harsh memories, Roman’s parents sold their business at an obscene profit and moved to his mother’s ancestral home of Salzburg, Austria. Wasting no time, his parents hired the finest pianist in the country to train the nimble-fingered prodigy. Under his tutelage, Roman was able to compose his first piano concerto by age five, and first full-scale opera by age nine.
Unfortunately, both Roman’s restless nature and puberty kicked in, causing him to abandon classical music for ballroom dancing in Vienna. There, he fell madly in love with a famous ballerina, and together they toured the continent, delighting fans with their couple’s dancing. By age 18, the seemingly happy duo was engaged to be married and preparing to embark on a world tour. Alas, on the eve of their nuptials, disaster struck when Roman’s betrothed ran off with their mambo instructor.
After six months of intensive psychotherapy, Roman was not only able to dance again, but actually emigrated to New York City to pursue his Broadway dreams. To support himself in the meanwhile, he moved in with an Italian family in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where he worked both as an au pair and a clerk in a paint store. Although his dreams of stardom failed to materialize, it was in Bay Ridge – Ground Zero for the Italian-American Mafia (a/k/a La Cosa Nostra) – where Roman’s obsession with true crime was reignited.