Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal
A 10-year-old Albuquerque girl was brutally slain in her family’s Northwest Albuquerque apartment early Wednesday, hours before she was to celebrate her birthday at a party complete with manicures and cake.
Late Wednesday night, Albuquerque police released horrific details of the crime allegedly perpetrated by the girl’s mother, her boyfriend and another woman. APD spokesman Tanner Tixier said the trio injected the 10-year-old with methamphetamine “to make her calm down so they could do whatever they want with her.”
She was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend and the other woman, and Tixier said the mom showed “no remorse.” They then either stabbed or strangled her to death, Tixier said.
“What happened to this little girl is … horrific. It’s one of the worst things I’ve read in my entire life,” Tixier said, referring to the criminal complaint.
Amanda Wilson, one of the girl’s neighbors, said an officer told her the crime scene was one of the worst he had ever seen.
Around 11:30 p.m., the girl’s mother Michelle Martens, 35, and Martens’ boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, 31, were escorted from the police headquarters Downtown at Fourth and Roma to the booking center across the street.
Martens, who had a bloody gash on her face, didn’t answer questions from reporters waiting outside. But Gonzales addressed reporters and blamed the girl’s death on 31-year-old Jessica Kelley, who is also facing charges in the incident.
Kelley remained at the hospital Wednesday night, according to Tixier. He said she is the cousin of Martens or Gonzales, but he didn’t know which.
All three of them are being charged with child abuse resulting in death, kidnapping and tampering with evidence, among other things. Gonzales and Kelley were also charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor.
Laura Bobbs, a minister and close friend of the girl’s family, arrived at the scene at the Arroyo Villas Apartments near Golf Course and Irving around mid-day. She was sobbing and yelling.
“No, no, no, say it ain’t so,” she pleaded outside the crime tape. “Who does this to a little child? Oh Jesus. Oh what evil. What is happening to this world, that they would kill a little child?”
At an afternoon news conference outside police headquarters, Police Chief Gorden Eden called the crime a “horrific tragedy.”
“When something like this happens to our community it has an effect on each and everyone of us,” he said. “I will assure the public that we will pursue justice and we will make sure that we exhaust every resource into this investigation.”
He said officers were first called to the scene around 4:30 a.m. for a reported battery.
“When (officers) arrived, they found a deceased victim,” he said. “The victim was 10 years of age.”
He did not release the girl’s name, saying not all of her family members had been notified.
Neighbor Pauline Quintana said the girl who was killed was outgoing and had seemed happy and excited Tuesday about her birthday. She was running around showing her neighbors a kitten and talking about her party.
“She seemed fine, she didn’t seem scared or upset,” Quintana said. “She was all happy.”
Bobbs said she had planned the birthday celebration for the girl when she got home from school after early dismissal from Petroglyph Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon.
“We were going to do pedis and manis and have cake,” she said. “She told me, ‘Auntie, I’m turning 10, so don’t buy me any toys.’ ”
So Bobbs said she bought her lip gloss and a necklace inspired by her favorite movie, “Frozen.”
“I had it engraved in the back: From Auntie Laura,” she said.
Quintana said neighbors are in shock. Many of them milled around the crime scene Wednesday talking about what had happened and crying.
“My stomach has been hurting, I’m crying off and on,” Quintana said. “I think we’re all freaking out.”
Neighbors said the dead 10-year-old lived with Martens, Gonzales and her younger brother. A cousin had recently moved in with them, according to Quintana.
Gonzales has faced multiple previous criminal cases dating back to 2004, including a felony child abuse charge in August 2014. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor abandonment of a child in February 2015, according to online court records.
Kelley has a history of felony drug-related charges and misdemeanor battery and domestic violence-related charges, most of which had been dismissed without prejudice.
Martens has no criminal history in New Mexico, according to online court records.
Wilson said the 10-year-old was best friends with her daughter and they spent nearly every day during summer break playing in the apartment complex’s pool. She said she didn’t know how to tell her daughter what had happened to her friend.
“My daughter’s going to be devastated; she knows something’s going on,” Wilson said. “She was looking for her at the bus stop.”
Bobbs said although she herself counsels people during grief, she is struggling to cope with the girl’s death.
“This is a mean and terrible world we are living in,” Bobbs said. “Such innocence. Why? She hasn’t done anything to anybody.”