New Mexico Shocked by Alleged Sexual Assault, Murder and Dismemberment of 10-Year-old Girl
Warning: Some of the following descriptions and language are graphic.
A New Mexico community is reeling after a 10-year-old girl was found dead in her family’s bathroom, with her battered, dismembered body wrapped in a burning blanket, according to police.
Dozens gathered at a vigil in Albuquerque on Thursday to mourn the death of Victoria Martens, as her mother, the woman’s boyfriend and a cousin face multiple charges in the girl’s death, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
“I know she is in a better place now, but I can’t believe that happened to her,” Jessica Quintana, who used to babysit Victoria, told the Journal. “She was so young. I miss her.”
Police said the girl was injected with methamphetamine, sexually assaulted and then killed before being dismembered, according to a criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE.
“This homicide is the most gruesome act of evil I have ever seen in my career,” Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden Jr. said, according to the Associated Press.
In a statement, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said the abuse and killing of the girl “is unspeakable and justice should come down like a hammer,” ABC News reports.
Albuquerque Police announced the death at a press conference on Wednesday, noting that the victim was a 10-year-old child but did not give her name. Police later announced the names of the suspects in a statement posted on Facebook.
Victoria’s mother, 35-year-old Michelle Martens, Martens’ boyfriend Fabian Gonzales, 31, and Gonzales’ cousin, 31-year-old Jessica Kelley, face charges including kidnapping, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to the criminal complaint.
Additionally, Kelley and Gonzales have been charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor.
“I would ask the citizens of Albuquerque keep the first responders who had to enter that scene today in their thoughts and prayers,” Albuquerque Police Officer Tanner Tixier told KRQE. “What these gentlemen and women saw – no human being should ever have to see.”
Police said they received a call of a disturbance at the home early Wednesday morning and arrived to find the girl’s remains under the burning blanket after apprehending Kelley, who had jumped from a balcony.
“[The suspects] injected this little girl with methamphetamines to make her calm down so they could do what they wanted to, to this little girl,” Tixier said.
According to the complaint, the girl’s arms had been cut off and placed in a plastic bag in a hamper. Her left leg had been almost completely cut off.
Martens remained silent as she was led out of the apartment complex and into a police car while Gonzales denied having anything to do with the girl’s death, KRQE reports.
Martens and Gonzales appeared in court on Thursday and bail was set at $1 million for them both, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE. The pair pleaded not guilty to the charges and Kelley has not yet entered a plea, the spokesperson says.