ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the New Mexico case that shocked the nation – the murder of 10-year-old Victoria Martens.
For the first time, her grandparents, who are also the parents of the accused killer, are speaking out.
John and Pat Martens say not only did they lose their granddaughter in a horrific killing, they also have the tough job of standing by their daughter, who is accused of the murder. For the first time, they’re speaking out, prompted by a recent political ad.
“We were ticked off,” said Pat Martens. “We looked at each other and said ‘what is this?’”
“Yea, what they hell are they trying to do?” said John Martens. “This is unbelievable. This is our granddaughter and our daughter.”
That’s the Martens, and their friend Laura Bobbs, reaction to a new political ad. Watch video above.
The ad blames CYFD and the governor for not helping prevent Victoria’s murder. The 10-year-old was murdered and raped a little more than a month ago.
Police have charged her mother, Michelle, her boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales and his cousin, Jessica Kelley for her murder.
“The organization that put this out has no heart or sympathy, to use Victoria’s murder and death to make a political point and gain when she is still with the medical examiner and we are still grieving, and we have had no closure,” said John. “We think it’s horrific.”
They say the ad is not fair to Victoria or their daughter.
“They don’t even know her to make accusations like that,” said Pat. “They don’t know her like we do. How dare them.”
“They don’t know her like we do,” said Laura Bobbs, friend. “We know there is another side to her other than what’s being depicted of her.”
They say the ad already convicts their daughter and they worry she’ll never get a fair trial.
“They better pull it,” said Pat. “It’s not right.”
KRQE News 13 took the Martens concerns to the people behind the ad, the Center for Civic Action, who says it’s a non-partisan organization.
“You know our hearts and thoughts go out to the Martens’ family and we don’t want any other grandparents to experience a similar tragedy like Victoria’s,” said Oriana Sandoval, executive director of Center for Civic Policy. “And that’s why we ran that ad.”
The ad cites a KRQE Special Assignment where KRQE News 13 exposed CYFD had checked on Michelle Martens at least twice before Victoria’s murder.
The Martens say knew about CYFD visiting Michelle’s home, but they never told them or Michelle why.
“They never indicated anything,” said John.
“They don’t tell you nothing,” said Pat.
“They just said they needed to do a safety check, and said, ‘we can’t discuss that with you,” said Bobbs.
The Martens say Michelle took great care of Victoria and her younger brother. They would know because they had daily interaction with them.
They retired here to help take care of the grandkids.
“I would watch her all the time, pick them up from the school bus, Michelle was working,” said John. “We never noticed anything. She would go to the park happy, making friends like that.”
Were there any red flags they may have missed?
“There was never any change in behavior,” asked KRQE News 13’s Jessica Garate. “Nothing?”
“Never cuddling in the corner, never crying, just normal kid stuff,” replied John Martens.
“So don’t come pointing fingers saying it was our fault,” said Bobbs. “You were the professionals, if you missed it, what makes you think we would have seen it?”
“Do you think for one minute we would have sat by and let this happen?”