ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a new bombshell in the Victoria Martens case.
Albuquerque Police had a report that one of Michelle Martens’ boyfriends had tried to kiss her then 9-year-old daughter, Victoria, in the months leading up to her murder.
APD said they didn’t think the kissing incident was worth investigating. Victoria Martens’ grandparents, however, say had they looked into it, they would have found it was the same man accused of trying to kidnap a little girl off the streets.
Through their attorney, John and Pat Martens say their daughter, Michelle, was living with David Hernandez five months before the murder of 10-year-old Victoria.
“She did what she could as a small child to tell adults, help, help me,” attorney Jason Bowles said.
A family friend tells KRQE News 13 she called the Children, Youth and Families Department after Victoria said Hernandez kissed her. CYFD turned the tip over to Albuquerque Police, who never investigated.
“An adult man kissing a young girl and that’s dismissed as not as important to investigate, that’s shocking. But if you go further and know what they knew in their own files, they could have connected — this guy’s a pedophile,” Bowles said.
Attorney Jason Bowles says had police bothered investigating, they would have found they arrested Hernandez in 2013. Police say he snatched a little girl from a parking lot, led her mother and officers on a long chase, later crashing. He let the girl go and was arrested.
Right after Victoria’s death last August, Michelle Martens would tell detectives Hernandez had raped Victoria.
“It’s our information that he was sexually assaulting her, not just kissing her. That’s something APD should have found out, investigated and taken her out of the home,” Bowles said.
Bowles suspects APD discovered who he was after the murder and kept it quiet since.
APD and the mayor’s office would not go on camera, but the mayor’s chief of staff says APD, including Chief Gorden Eden, had no idea it was David Hernandez until now.
He also says police chose not to investigate the report of the kiss because Michelle had told CYFD she had kicked her boyfriend out, a boyfriend she never named at the time.
Five months later, police would charge Martens, her boyfriend, and his cousin with the rape and murder of Victoria.
“They absolutely could have prevented her death,” Bowles said.
The city says the FBI has been investigating Hernandez and another man to see what kind of contact they had with Victoria.
The District Attorney’s Office dropped Hernandez’s charges in that kidnapping in 2015 after failing to get evidence to Hernandez’s attorney in time. He is also accused of fleeing from a deputy in April.