Friday brought a major development in one of the most brutal murder cases in New Mexico’s history as prosecutors revealed that two of the three suspects accused of killing 10-year-old Victoria Martens were not at the home where she died at the time little girl is believed to have been killed.
Michelle Martens, her boyfriend Fabian Gonzalez, and Gonzalez’s cousin Jessica Kelly were all charged with the horrific murder of Victoria Martens in August 2016. Michelle, the girl’s mother, had reportedly confessed her role in the alleged gang rape, killing, and partial dismemberment of her daughter, though all three suspects had previously pleaded not guilty.
KOAT reports that on Friday, Albuquerque District Attorney Raul Torrez announced that an investigation by prosecutors found that Michelle Martens was not telling the truth in much of the testimony she gave police after Victoria’s violent death.
Police responding to an emergency call from Martens’ apartment building in Albuquerque found Victoria’s partially dismembered body burning in a bathtub. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Martens had told police she watched while Gonzalez and Kelly raped, strangled, and mutilated her daughter, and that she got sexual gratification from the violent scene.
But Torrez, the D.A. told reporters on Friday that phone and Google identification records shows that Martens and Gonzalez had left the apartment to go buy drugs during the time that Victoria was killed, somewhere between 7 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Investigators now reportedly believe there may have been another man in the apartment with Jessica Kelly at the time of Victoria’s murder. DNA found on the body belonging to a male was not a match for Gonzalez or any other males known to be connected to Victoria or her mother.
Martens pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of reckless child abuse resulting in death. She is facing 12-15 years in prison. It is unclear why she previously overstated both her and boyfriend’s possible role in her daughter’s horrific killing.
It is not known if Gonzalez is expected to change his plea. Authorities are now focused on identifying and locating the third person believed to be in the apartment with Jessica Kelly and the victim.
“We owe it to Victoria to get this right,” Torrez told KOAT.