Police are seeking additional witnesses to the brutal rape and murder of 10-year-old Victoria Martens, whose own mother allegedly orchestrated the nightmarish assault and killing — before she made dinner for the man and woman who raped and stabbed her daughter.
The Albuquerque station KOAT reports that police may have found additional evidence and witnesses after searching cell phone and social media records of the suspects. The investigation into the August 2016 death revealed that Victoria’s mother Michelle Martens and the two additional suspects took photos and were active on social media the day of Victoria’s horrific death — the day after her tenth birthday.
Police told the news station that the digital records suggest the possibility of “unknown individuals who ultimately may be witnesses in this case.”
A report in the Albuquerque Journal examines the possibility that there may have been a witness at the apartment where Victoria died on the night she was murdered. The FBI reportedly sought the DNA of a suspected methamphetamine dealer in “connection with an August 2016 homicide.”
According to court and police records obtained by the newspaper, authorities set up an undercover sting earlier in the fall with the aim of obtaining DNA from the possible person of interest.
Police were reportedly seeking information about Martin Martinez, a suspected drug dealer who was in contact with one of the murder suspects, Jessica Kelley, in the days before Victoria was killed. Martinez is also believed to have sold drugs to suspect Fabian Gonzales, but it is not known when they were in contact.
As part of the sting operation, a police informant met with Martinez for a $5,000 drug transaction with cash provided by the FBI. During the meeting, the informant reportedly gave Martinez a bottle of Powerade, which he sipped before giving it back to the informant. Because the person with the drugs did not arrive at the initial meeting, the informant met Martinez again and gave him a beer to drink. Authorities reportedly drew DNA from both bottles but the results of the testing are not yet complete. Martinez, who has no criminal history and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, was taken into custody but later released to a halfway house pending a trial date.
Authorities appear to believe that methamphetamine played a role in Victoria’s death. Police responding to a report of aggravated assault reportedly found Victoria’s partially dismembered body wrapped in a burning blanket in the bathtub. When police first questioned Victoria’s mother Michelle Martens, she claimed that her daughter had ingested methamphetamine that day and had gone to bed sick. They did not find methamphetamine in her system.
When she was taken into custody after a failed attempt to flee the apartment building on foot, Jessica Kelley reportedly said there was a fourth person at the apartment, beyond the three who have since been charged with Victoria’s murder.
According to court records obtained by the newspaper, Kelley asked while she was being handcuffed, “Why am I being arrested for murder? There were three other people in that house. You’re getting me for murder?”
Kelly, Gonzalez, and Michelle Martens were all charged with rape and first degree murder, though investigators reportedly believe Kelley and Gonzalez were primarily responsible for committing the violent acts while Martens watched. The girl’s mother reportedly had sex with Gonzalez and cooked the three of them dinner after the little girl died.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
[Feature image: Facebook]