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Suspects enter pleas in brutal slaying, dismemberment of New Mexico girl

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The three suspects charged in the horrific slaying of a 10-year-old Albuquerque girl have pleaded not guilty in state court.

The victim’s mother, Michelle Martens, the woman’s boyfriend Fabian Gonzales and his cousin Jessica Kelley are charged with child abuse resulting in death, aggravated criminal sex penetration of child under 13, kidnapping and tampering with evidence in connection with the killing of Victoria Martens.

From left, Fabian Gonzales, Jessica Kelley, and Michelle Martens KRQE

The arraignment hearing for the three suspects Friday came three weeks after authorities say the girl was drugged, sexually assaulted and killed on Aug. 24. She was stabbed and strangled.

Victoria was found dead by police in her mother’s apartment the day she was to celebrate her 10th birthday, with authorities saying her remains had been wrapped in a blanket and set on fire in a bathtub.

Police say the girl’s mother told investigators after her arrest that the other suspects drugged and assaulted the victim as she watched. She allegedly told police she looked for men online and at work to sexually assault her daughter, according to search newly-released warrants in the case.

Martens told investigators that one of the men she solicited was a co-worker. Two others she met online, including Gonzales, 31. He was to be the last.

Laura Bobbs, a local minister and spokeswoman for the family, cried when she learned about the details outlined in the search warrants.

“My poor baby, my poor baby,” she exclaimed, referring to Victoria. “She never told us this was going on. I would ask her all the time, ‘Are you OK?’ She would tell me yes.”

Bobbs reiterated Wednesday that there were no indications from Michelle Martens or the girl that anything was wrong.

“I would see this woman every day. There were no signs. How did she hide this from us?,” she said. “This thing gets worse and worse and worse.”