New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly praised Joselyn Martinez, 36, for her efforts to find murder suspect Justo Santos, 43, who was living in Miami, the New York Daily News reported.
"I applaud her," Kelly said. "It's admirable what she did. Obviously, she made a concerted effort and it paid off. We appreciate it."
Santos was suspected in the shooting death of Jose Martinez, who had thrown him and his friends out of Martinez's restaurant on Nov. 22, 1986, but fled to the Dominican Republic, his homeland. Santos was arrested in the Caribbean country and Kelly said his department dropped the case, thinking he would be tried for murder there.
"However, he was only in jail for a little over a year and he was released," Kelly said. "They should not have closed the case.
"It should have been looked at to see if there was additional information as to whether or not he was out of jail."
The commissioner said Joselyn Martinez's detective methods were sound.
"Sounds to me like common sense," said Kelly. "Sounds to me like you should be doing that at this time."
Santos was being brought back to New York to face trial, the Daily News said.
Despite the NYPD's failings in her father's case, Joselyn Martinez said she is "very appreciative of the police right now, doing the work."
"I don't know what happened, but we're doing it now," she told the Daily News.