Before dawn Wednesday morning, about 4:30 a.m., police were called to an apartment in northwest Albuquerque, having been told there was a “disturbance” at the apartment…
Instead of the domestic battery case the officers were expecting at the Arroyo Villas Apartments, they found a 10-year-old girl, brutally, unspeakably murdered – and 3 suspects, one of them was the child’s own mother.
It was the dawn of Victoria Martens’ 10th birthday. She had just started the fourth grade at Petroglyph Elementary School, and a birthday party had been planned for her that afternoon, when she returned home from school.
Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, 35; Martens’ boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, 31; and Gonzales’ cousin, Jessica Kelley, 31, have all been charged with her death.
According to reports, Victoria had been injected with meth, sexually assaulted, strangled, stabbed and dismembered, then her body wrapped in blankets and set on fire.
When police first arrived, the mother, bleeding from a head injury, met the officers outside the apartment and told them “someone” had killed her daughter, but when they tried to enter the apartment, Kelley slammed the door shut, locked it with a chain, then jumped from the balcony in an effort to escape. And Gonzales, wearing blood-stained shorts, had a black eye, according to police reports.
The officers caught Kelley, put her in handcuffs, and put her in the patrol car. (She was later taken to the hospital.)
Then the fire alarm went off. Officers managed to get inside the smoke-filled apartment and found the child’s dismembered body in the bathroom in the burning blankets, and bloodstains on the carpet of her bedroom.
The mother told police that Gonzales drugged the child to “calm her down” so he could have sex with her, while Kelley held her hand over Victoria’s mouth. After Gonzales sexually assaulted the girl, he choked her, killing her, then Kelley stabbed her in the stomach. The mother also told police that Kelley and Gonzales then dismembered the little girl.
In the police reports, Martens and Gonzales both admitted they met about a month ago through an internet website. Martens said Jessica Kelley, Gonzales’ cousin, had just been released from prison about four days earlier, and she had allowed her to stay with them.
Kelley refused to be interviewed, saying she wanted to speak to her attorney. She was still being held at the hospital.
Martens and Gonzales were both taken into custody late Wednesday evening. They appeared in court Thursday, and are both being held on a $1 million cash-only bond.
When the two were led from the apartment Wednesday night, reporters tried to ask them questions. Martens wouldn’t speak, but Gonzales muttered that he didn’t do it, and said, “Jessica Kelley did it.”
Tanner Tixier, with the Albuquerque Police Department, said that’s “not the whole truth, but it’s not a lie.”
According to KFox14, Gonzales has a long criminal record going back to 2004, including felony child abuse, a DUI, and child abandonment in 2015, along with two outstanding warrants for his arrest in South Carolina for drunk driving and littering.
Kelley’s record includes battery, domestic violence and drug charges, and Martens has no criminal history.
Neighbors and friends were distraught over the child’s death. Laura Bobbs, a minister and close friend of the family, who had planned a birthday party for Victoria for Wednesday afternoon, sobbed as she arrived at the apartment complex.
“No, no, no, say it ain’t so,” Bobbs said. “Who does this to a little child? Oh, Jesus. Oh, that evil. What is happening to this world, that they would kill a little child?”
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