The horrific details of Victoria Martens’ murder have all but ensured that her tragic case will go down in history as one of the most brutal crimes the state of New Mexico has ever seen. Ten-year-old Victoria Martens, it would be discovered, was sexually assaulted, drugged, beaten, stabbed, and ultimately murdered and dismembered. The crime was allegedly committed by Victoria’s mother’s boyfriend and his female cousin, all while Victoria’s mom Michelle Martens sat by and watched her daughter’s abuse and murder.
Over the course of the investigation into Victoria Martens’ murder, it would be uncovered that her death on August 24, the day after her 10th birthday, was far from the first time Victoria had been sexually assaulted by a boyfriend or friend of her mother’s. Indeed, during the interrogation process, 35-year-old Michelle Martens reportedly told Albuquerque police that she had frequently allowed acquaintances to sexually assault her daughter in the past, too, because she “liked to watch.”
Ultimately, Michelle Martens, her 31-year-old boyfriend (of a month) Fabian Gonzales, and his 31-year-old cousin Jessica Kelley were arrested in connection with the rape and murder of Michelle Martens. The three are being held at the Bernalillo County Jail on respective $1 million bonds. Now, nearly two months after Victoria Martens’ murder, new information in her tragic case is being made public.
First and foremost, the 911 call that alerted law enforcement and the world to the horrible crime that had taken place in Michelle Martens’ small, quiet Albuquerque apartment.
As KOAT reports, the 911 call related to the Victoria Martens murder was made by a neighbor of the Martens family. Reportedly, it was that neighbor’s door that Michelle Martens and Fabian Gonzales knocked on after Victoria Martens’ brutal rape and murder. The story the pair told to the neighbor was one of complete fiction, police would later discover. When the battered and bloody pair reported their assault to the neighbor, they claimed that a house guest (Jessica Kelley) had brutally assaulted them and that they’d had to flee the house and leave little Victoria behind.
Police would later learn that their initial story was fabricated to cover up the crimes committed against Victoria Martens and, perhaps, to lay the blame solely at the feet of Jessica Kelley. When police got to the Martens’ home, it was to discover Jessica Kelley (who tried to flee the scene by jumping from a balcony) and the body of Victoria Martens, reportedly dismembered and lit on fire in a bathtub.
In addition to releasing the 911 call related to the murder of Victoria Martens, Albuquerque police also made their interviews with the suspects in the case public at the end of last week.
As KRQU reports, perhaps the most disturbing suspect interview regarding the Victoria Martens murder was the one involving Victoria’s own mother, Michelle Martens. During her interview, which is over 100 pages long, Michelle reportedly changed her story at least twice before finally confessing to police what happened to her daughter and her involvement in her daughter’s murder. Initially, Michelle Martens stuck to her original version of events, claiming that she and her boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, had been attacked in the middle of the night by Jessica Kelley and that she didn’t know what Kelley had done to Victoria after she fled the home.
“Jessica comes into our bedroom and asks me if I believe in God. She kept hitting me, hitting me, hitting me, punching.”
After continued police pressuring, Michelle Martens tried to tell investigators that there was no Victoria Martens murder, per se. Rather, Michelle said that Victoria had accidentally overdosed after ingesting methamphetamine she’d found in the home and that Kelley and Gonzales had tried to dispose of Victoria’s body. She claimed that the pair had threatened her life if she reported her daughter’s death.
Finally, after hours of intense questioning, Michelle Martens broke down and told detectives what really happened when Victoria Martens was murdered. She admitted that Victoria had repeatedly been sexually assaulted by Gonzales and Kelley over the days leading up to Victoria Martens’ murder. She admitted that she’d left her daughter home alone with Gonzales for over a month and that he’d been sexually assaulting Victoria regularly over that time period.
Michelle Martens admitted that Fabian Gonzales wasn’t the first man she’d allowed to rape Victoria, even going so far as to tell police that she “liked to watch.”
“This time she died and you weren’t ready for the type of animals these people were?”
Perhaps most disturbing of all, Michelle Martens confirmed to police that she sat back and watched her daughter’s sexual assault, torture, and murder on August 24 without doing a single thing to stop it. According to law enforcement, Victoria Martens was forcibly given methamphetamine, raped, choked by Jessica Kelley, stabbed in the abdomen by Fabian Gonzales, dismembered, and lit on fire — all while her mother looked on and did nothing to help her.
In the wake of the disturbing new details that have been released regarding Victoria Martens’ murder, the 10-year-old’s grandparents (Michelle Martens’ parents) have spoken out publicly about Michelle and the role she allegedly played in her daughter’s final hours.
As KRQE reports, John and Pat Martens are living a life of perpetual shock and disbelief following the news of their granddaughter’s murder. According to the pair, they believed that Victoria and Michelle’s life was perfectly normal. Pat says that she’d spoken to Victoria after the little girl celebrated her 10th birthday at school, and nothing seemed wrong, despite the fact that she was, as police would later learn, being regularly sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend at the time.
“We’re trying to make sense of it all.”
Despite the fact that Michelle Martens has reportedly admitted her role in her daughter’s death, as well as the horrific abuse Victoria Martens apparently endured leading up to her murder, John and Pat Martens are reportedly “standing by” their daughter.
According to Michelle Martens’ mother and father, she was loving and hard working, a single mom who never drank or did drugs. Michelle’s parents even publicly claimed that Michelle Martens had just passed a drug test within the last few months in order to be hired for a new job. Indeed, they claim that she was responsible and appeared to take pride in caring for Victoria and her 8-year-old brother.
“If there was something going on, she masked it so well and she built a persona with us, we never saw this.”
As for the allegations (and apparent admission) that Michelle allowed other men have sex with Victoria, her parent’s don’t know what to believe.
“We don’t know. We don’t know. She’s had other boyfriends. The other guys we met seemed alright.”
Michelle’s parents are wholeheartedly blaming Gonzales and Kelley for their daughter’s “downward spiral” and Victoria Martens’ murder.
“Michelle didn’t change until these people inducted themselves into her life. What kind of power they had over her, I don’t know.”
Michelle Martens’ parents admit that it is “difficult” supporting their daughter and admit that if she is found guilty, she deserves whatever punishment is meted out to her. John and Pat vow to always love their daughter, no matter what happens with the Victoria Martens’ murder case. They claim to believe that Victoria would have wanted it this way.
“I know Victoria is in heaven saying forgive my mom. That’s exactly what she’s saying.”
Trial dates have been set for the three defendants charged in connection with Victoria Martens’ murder, reports the Albuquerque Journal. The trials have been tentatively scheduled for October 2, 2017. Currently, the cases of Fabian Gonzales, Jessica Kelley, and Michelle Martens are being handled jointly. However, prosecutors believe that defense attorneys representing the Victoria Martens’ murder case defendants will file motions to have the cases severed.
[Featured Image by Russell Contreras/AP Images]