ALBUQUERQUE, New Mixco. — On the day a girl was going to celebrate her 10th birthday, she was found dead in her family’s apartment by Albuquerque police officers, her dismembered remains wrapped in a burning blanket.
Details of what Gov. Susana Martinez and law enforcement officials described as an unspeakable crime emerged Thursday in a criminal complaint made public and filed against the girl’s mother, her boyfriend and his cousin. The three were taken into custody late Wednesday night.
Police say the girl was injected with methamphetamine, sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed before being dismembered. They did not identify her because authorities were still trying Thursday to reach some relatives to notify them of the girl’s death.
A caller told a police dispatcher before dawn Wednesday that there was a disturbance in the apartment, said Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden. Officers who went to the apartment complex in a middle-class neighborhood found the gruesome crime scene.
“This is a horrific tragedy for our community,” Eden told reporters. “I want to assure the public that we will pursue justice and we will make sure that we exhaust every resource into this investigation.”
By Thursday morning, a makeshift shrine for the girl had emerged underneath a tree at the apartment complex – with relatives and friends leaving flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and lit candles.
Martinez said in a statement the abuse and killing of the girl “is unspeakable and justice should come down like a hammer.”
The girl’s mother, 35-year-old Michelle Martens, her 31-year-old boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, and his 31-year-old cousin, Jessica Kelley, face charges of child abuse resulting in death, kidnapping and tampering with evidence. Gonzales and Kelly have also been charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor.
Gonzales denied having anything to do with the girl’s death as he was led out of the police station in handcuffs late Wednesday as reporters yelled questions at him. The girl’s mother said nothing as she was led out and placed into the back of a police car.
SOURCES: NewsNow/Eye Witness News Online