Girl Killed by Mom's Boyfriend, His Cousin on Day of 10th Birthday Celebration: Cops
Victoria Martens had big plans to celebrate her 10th birthday.
After she returned to her Albuquerque, New Mexico, home from school Wednesday, she was going to indulge in cake, manicures and pedicures with her godmother — the perfect day for a little girl.
Instead, police say Victoria endured unspeakable horrors at the hands of her own mother, her mother’s boyfriend and the man’s cousin, who have been charged in connection to her brutal torture and slaying.
“I just can’t imagine what that baby was going through when they were killing her,” local minister Laura Bobbs, the little girl’s godmother and a friend of her grandmother, told KRQE. “God, I can’t.”
Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, 35, allegedly stood by as her boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, 31, and his cousin Jessica Kelley, 31, injected the child with methamphetamine “to calm her down” so they could both sexually assault her, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Albuquerque Journal.
After the pair assaulted Victoria, Gonzales allegedly strangled her and Kelley stabbed her, the criminal complaint said.
The pair then allegedly dismembered the child’s body.
Officers with the Albuquerque Police Department found her burning remains half-wrapped in a blanket in the bathtub of Martens’ apartment near Golf Course and Irving at about 4:30 a.m., authorities said.
Other parts of Victoria’s body were left in a plastic bag in a laundry hamper. Her bedroom floor was stained with blood.
“This is a horrific tragedy for our community,” Police Chief Gorden Eden said at a press conference. “When something like this happens to our community, it has an effect on each and every one of us.”
Albuquerque police spokesman Tanner Tixier choked back tears as he explained it was not clear how Victoria died because her body was so mutilated. An autopsy will determine the exact cause of her death.
Tixier said the murder scene was a horrible sight for officers responding to the grisly crime.
“What these gentlemen and women saw, no human behind should ever have to see,” Tixier told reporters Wednesday, as another officer broke down behind him.
All three suspects were charged with child abuse resulting in death, kidnapping and tampering with evidence. Gonzales and Kelley were also charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor.
Martens and Gonzales—who told police they have only known each other about a month—appeared in court via video conference on Thursday, where Judge Linda Rogers set bond for both at $1 million, cash only, KOB4 reported.
Martens had no previous criminal history except for a bench warrant for a traffic ticket, but her relatively clean record did little to sway Rogers in lessening her bond.
“I’m not sure there are community bonds strong enough to convince the court she’s not a flight risk,” Rogers said, according to the Journal.
Gonzales’ criminal history dates back to 2004, including a misdemeanor abandonment of a child charge to which he pleaded no contest in 2015. Authorities reportedly said he battered a woman while they were in a moving car with an infant in the back seat.
Both appeared bruised, which they told police was due to injuries sustained when Kelley allegedly hit them with an iron.
Kelley was hospitalized after she allegedly jumped off a balcony while trying to flee the scene and will be booked after her release, the Journal reported.
She has a criminal history dating back to 2003, including acting as a lookout while a woman raped another inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in September 2012, court records obtained by the Journal showed.
She pleaded no contest to second degree conspiracy to commit sexual penetration and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Friends took to Kelley’s Facebook page welcoming her home on August 16, a day after she had apparently been released from another stint in jail.
“Free,” she wrote in response.
Victoria’s friends and family were struggling to make sense of the horrific crime, unable to understand what would lead people to do such vile things to a little girl — and why her mother allegedly let it happen.
Many flooded Martens’ Facebook to vent their anger and sorrow.
“I hope you feel the same pain and suffering that you caused your daughter!! You are a disgrace and should never, ever be called Mom in your life,” one person wrote.
“What were you saying to your daughter as your boyfriend and his cousin were torturing her?” another person commented. “I hope you burn for all eternity. And soon!”
Victoria had just entered the fourth grade at Petroglyph Elementary School, an Albuquerque Public Schools spokeswoman told InsideEdition.com.
“Everyone is just reeling from this,” she said.
“Our hearts ache today for little Victoria and all who love her including her classmates and the staff and families at Petroglyph Elementary,” APS said in a statement. “We cherish and protect our students and, like the rest of Albuquerque, are having a hard time wrapping our heads around the fact that someone could treat one of them so horrifically.
"Victoria is in our thoughts and prayers as we hold our children just a little tighter on this sad day.”