The story of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and killed by her mother's boyfriend as the woman watched has prompted a flood of potential child abuse calls to child services officials in New Mexico. Victoria Martens was dismembered and then set on fire in an apartment complex last week in Albuquerque.
The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department told reporters Tuesday that her death has sparked concern about other cases of child abuse and how to spot abuse. Victoria's body was found in a bathtub Wednesday, a day after her 10th birthday. The girl's mother, Michelle Martens, her mother's boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales; and Gonzales' cousin, Jessica Kelley, face charges in the killing. The suspects did not have a record of sexual or physical abuse prior to the killing.
Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden called the crime "the most gruesome act of evil I have ever seen in my career," according to CNN affiliate KOAT.
New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson said people should report potential cases of child abuse as they arise. "The more specific you can be, the better chance we have to get involved with that family and understand what's going on," Jacobson told reporters.
Family and friends hosted a "heavenly birthday" memorial Sunday for Victoria at an Albuquerque park, CNN reported. Mourners wore purple, Victoria's favorite color.
"This sweet angel was looking forward to celebrating her birthday," a Facebook page for the event said. "So that's what we're going to do! Join us at Mariposa Park for a birthday party fit for a princess. Please bring bubbles that we will be sending to Heaven."
Martens told police her daughter was given methamphetamine "to calm her down." Gonzales had sex with the girl before choking her to death.
"Michelle stated she watched this ... happen for sexual gratification," according to court documents.