The City of Albuquerque has responded to a lawsuit brought by the parents of a 10-year-old girl who was brutally assaulted and murdered, while her mother looked on, in August 2016.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Victoria Martens died last year after her mother’s boyfriend and his cousin allegedly raped, strangled, and partially dismembered her body — while the mother, Michelle Martens, looked on. Michelle then cooked dinner for her daughter’s murderers.
A year later, Victoria’s grandparents John and Pat Martens filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that law enforcement did not take the proper measures to protect the little girl from dangers in the home, and asking for damages. Among the allegations, the grandparents claim that police were aware that one of Michelle’s live-in boyfriends had sexually assaulted Victoria and the police did not thoroughly investigate the claims, when an investigation would have revealed that the boyfriend had a criminal history involving attempted abduction.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the city has responded to the suit, insisting that the actions of police officers did not contribute to Victoria’s death, and also claiming that two relatives were aware that the girl was being abused and did not report it to authorities.
The report also reveals that a former police spokesperson lied to the newspaper: Officer Fred Duran told the Albuquerque Journal that police had followed up on a tip from the Children, Youth and Families Department regarding possible abuse of Victoria Martens. The Civilian Police Oversight Agency found that Duran’s claim was not true and recommended that he be suspended for lying.
All three suspects in Victoria’s murder have pleaded not guilty to the charges. They will each be tried separately, beginning with Michelle Martens’ trial in July 2018.
Feature photo: Facebook