A New Mexico woman told police she allowed men to sexually assault her daughter because she enjoyed watching it.
Authorities are now learning the terrible details behind the Aug. 23 death of Michelle Martens’ 10-year-old daughter, Victoria. Police said the child was raped, strangled, stabbed, dismembered and then set on fire, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Martens reportedly watched the entire incident, according to court documents. Other suspects involved in the crime were identified as Fabian Gonzales, 31, and his cousin, Jessica Kelley, also 31. Kelly reportedly held the child down while Gonzales raped her.
Martens told authorities she had set up encounters with at least three different men to rape her daughter. One was a co-worker, and the other two she had met online through dating website Plenty of Fish. She said she didn’t do it for money, but did it because she enjoyed watching.
“Michelle said ‘yeah’ when asked if she would agree with them over the internet or over the phone that they would come over and have sex with her children,” an investigator wrote in court documents.
Witnesses reported seeing Kelley carrying Victoria down the stairs from an apartment at around 10 p.m., court documents show. It is unclear if the child was alive at the time.
The neighbor also overheard Kelley asking Martens, “Are you ready?” At 3 a.m., the same witness heard screaming.
Martens told officers they gave Victoria methamphetamine to calm her down before she was raped. She believes that’s what caused Victoria’s death. Police disagree.
Officer Tanner Tixier, a spokesman with the Albuquerque Police Department, said police believe Victoria died from strangulation or stab wounds. Kelley and Gonzales are also accused of dismembering Victoria’s body and setting her on fire in a bathtub, according to court documents.
At around 4:30 a.m., Martens and Gonzales approached neighbors and said Kelley had attacked them. Martens claimed her daughter was still in the apartment. Neighbors then called police.
Authorities found Victoria’s dismembered body wrapped in a burning blanket, the Daily Mail reported. They also found some of Victoria’s remains in a plastic bag in a hamper near the kitchen.
Police seized a camcorder, nine mini discs, five smartphones, a thumb drive, an iPod, a cell phone, and other devices from the scene. They are trying to determine if Martens ever videotaped or photographed the sexual assaults.
“In my training and experience, those who are interested in the sexual exploitation of children are also interested in exploiting images of children for sexual gratification,” an officer wrote in a search warrant affidavit.
Detectives are also looking at the phones to see who Martens was in contact with prior to Victoria’s death.
The father of Martens’ other child said he had no knowledge about Martens’ criminal activity. He is seeking an order of protections against all three suspects for the remaining child.
“The petitions he filed are based on the evidence released about Victoria’s murder as well as information his son has disclosed to him since the murder,” his attorney, Michelle Cortez, told the Albuquerque Journal.
Cortez added that the father “is both saddened and sickened by the events that have occurred, and he will do what he needs to do to protect his son.”
Two days after Victoria’s death, the child’s grandparents told police they found a gallon-size bag full of a white, powdery substance in the apartment. They said it appeared to be a “narcotic of some type.”
Police could not determine whether the suspects were high on drugs during the incident.
All three suspects have been arrested and charged with kidnapping, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with evidence, conspiracy, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Kelley and Gonzales were also charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor.
Victoria was supposed to celebrate her 10th birthday on the day of her death.