ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It would have been her 13th birthday. But instead of celebrating, people gathered to remember Victoria Martens on the third anniversary of her horrific murder.
Victoria’s murder shocked the entire country. Friday, her grandparents visited the park where a tree was planed in her memory.
The Martens say the last few years have been horrible, and they think about what happened every day. While they did not plan Friday night’s vigil, they were happy to see the strangers there working to remember Victoria.
The group decorated a tree at Mariposa Basin Park with Victoria’s favorite things: butterflies and all things sparkly and purple. The woman who organized Friday night’s tree decorating did not know Victoria, but like so many in Albuquerque, she felt a strong connection to the case.
“Just how beautiful she was and how she should still be here, and how we’re outraged, shocked and heartbroken over it,” organizer Joell Leah said.
Friday was all about Victoria, but of course, there are still many questions surrounding her murder case. There were three suspects initially arrested in connection to the case, including Victoria’s mother. Michelle Martens and Jessica Kelley have since taken plea deals, Fabian Gonzales is awaiting trial.
Last year, the District Attorney dropped a bombshell saying there was a fourth person there that night whose DNA was found on Victoria. Since the announcement, DA Raul Torrez said the investigation into the ‘John Doe’ has stalled.
The Martens are currently suing APD, claiming they failed to protect Victoria by not investigating reported tips — so they could not comment on where the case stands in court. They did say, it’s a shame it’s gone on for so long.
Organizers say they plan to hold a vigil like this for Victoria every year on her birthday.