ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Months after the sentencing for people involved in the death of Victoria Martens, a new court ruling is re-opening a lawsuit in the Martens case.
The Martens family tried suing the City of Albuquerque and Albuquerque Police Department, claiming officers did not respond correctly to a Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) call prior to Victoria’s death.
The suit was filed by Victoria’s grandparents, Pat and John Martens, in 2017 after her death.
In the lawsuit, the Martens claimed police dropped the ball five months before Victoria’s murder. It said CYFD got a tip that one of Victoria’s mother’s boyfriends tried to kiss the child.
They said the tip was turned over to police, but never investigated, the city said that’s because the claim wasn’t serious enough for police to investigate.
Now, two years after the suit was dismissed in district court, an appellate court has approved the appeal. The district court judge previously dismissed the lawsuit claiming the family’s attorney did not give written notice of the claims made in the lawsuit. Appeals court judge Katherine Wray says otherwise, and it was approved.
In November, Victoria’s mother, Michelle, was sentenced to 12 years for her role in the crime. Michelle’s boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, was sentenced to more than 35 years after jurors found him guilty of child abuse resulting in death and other charges.
His cousin, Jessica Kelley, was sentenced in April to 44 years in prison for her role in Martens’ death.