Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal
Three smiling faces appear at the top of Michelle Martens’ Facebook page, now commandeered by an angry public.
Her son, now 8, is on the right, Martens in the middle, and on the left, her daughter, Victoria, whose body was found Aug. 24, rolled in a blanket, not moving, on fire in the bathtub of the apartment the family shared off Irving Boulevard.
Scroll down the page and Martens talks about “my babies.”
“I love them so,” she says above one photo of her daughter and son dated July 2012.
For a shocked public still looking for answers as to how such a heinous crime could happen, Martens’ Facebook page offers no clues.
There is no mention of boyfriends or drug habits – although the smiling woman posted on her page in January 2016 bears little resemblance to her booking mug. No explanation as to how the 35-year-old mother could have watched, and condoned, as police allege, while two people she met weeks earlier drugged her 10-year-old daughter with methamphetamine as a prelude to rape and murder.
Her Facebook page instead is dominated by religious pictures and sayings she adopted, such as, “Make God your first priority, not your last resort.”
“When I am weak, My God is strong,” says another saying she posted.
There are more religious devotional messages than there are photos of her children.
One of her posts shows a questionnaire about her relationship status, with boxes for “in a relationship” and “single.” Martens checked the third option, “I’m in a relationship with God.”
But some posts show a beaming Victoria – with makeup on in 2012, eating a marshmallow on a stick, and after a face painting.
“My little movie star,” Martens wrote about her daughter.
Without any evidence of a criminal record in New Mexico, Martens is now facing a slate of criminal charges and the wrath of the community.
She no longer is in control of her Facebook page. Within a day of the trio’s arrest, people took to her Facebook page to condemn her.
“Murderer,” said one person. “The face of pure evil,” posted another. On Monday, people were still commenting, “You killer,” said another.
“I hope you rot in hell,” said another woman.
Someone else posted, “Prayers to the family that has to live with this for the rest of their lives. I pray for you all to have the strength to get through this.”
Martens’ Facebook page shows she is from the Bronx, New York, and at one point studied medical insurance billing and coding at Brookline Medical College in Albuquerque.
“I’m so stoked right now, I just got 100 percent on my CPR test,” she wrote in August 2012.
“I finally finished school,” she said in a January 2013 post. “I am going insane at home, I want to work already.”
Her site included tributes to cancer victims, to military veterans and to victims of the 9/11 tragedy.
A second Facebook page in her name stated that she had started classes at the University of New Mexico on July 5.
On July 25, 2012, Martens’ Facebook page shows her commenting about a 1-year-old child left in a hot car while the mother was shopping at a discount store.
“Some people are just too stupid saying she forgot the baby,” her post said. “Yeah right, the baby should not even be with them. she should go to jail.”
Martens is jailed on a $1 million cash bond facing initial charges that include child abuse resulting in death.
According to a criminal complaint, Martens told police she met co-defendant Fabian Gonzales, 31, on an Internet dating site called Plenty of Fish and they started dating about a month ago. Court records show he is a habitual domestic violence offender and is still on probation for a 2014 child abandonment charge. A third defendant, Jessica Kelley, is also facing child abuse and related charges.
Kelley, 31, is Gonzales’ cousin and previously had been found guilty in connection with the rape of another female inmate in Metropolitan Detention Center.