Albuquerque-Metro

Victoria Martens' murder site now used as apartment showroom

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Prosecutors want to bring jurors into the apartment where Victoria Martens was brutally raped and murdered more than two years ago. 

It's a place no one would want to step foot in, but KRQE News 13 has learned people are in and out of it every day. 

"I avoid that side of the complex just 'cause my skin crawls every time," said a neighbor at Arroyo Villas. 

Martens' old apartment haunts residents at the Westside apartment complex. 

"I don't want to think about that every time I'm coming in and out of my home," said the neighbor.  

They avoid building eight because it's where Albuquerque Police found 10-year-old Victoria Martens' mutilated body on fire in a bathtub. 

"What happened to this little girl... it's horrific. It's one of the worst things I've ever read in my entire life," said Tanner Tixier with Albuquerque Police shortly after they found Victoria.  

The crime scene made veteran officers physically ill. 

"What these gentlemen and women saw no human being should ever have to see," said Tixier. 

Now, as the trial looms for Jessica Kelley and Fabian Gonzales, both charged in Victoria's death, prosecutors want to take jurors inside the old crime scene. 

The state claims diagrams and photos don't "fully depict how small the apartment is," nor do they allow a good view of what can be seen from both inside and out of the unit. 

Although it's no longer lived in, the documents fail to mention what the unit is now used for. 

"It's set up with as a show apartment, with furniture, pictures on the wall, fake plants... I mean the works, it looks beautiful," said the neighbor that asked to remain anonymous.  

She said staff took her on a tour of Victoria's apartment, never telling her what happened there. 

"I have two girls and two boys, my skin crawled and my first thought was, I never would have moved here had I known," she said. 

She says her neighbor broke the news, after she'd already signed a lease and moved in. She said she feels she should have been warned. 

"You couldn't tell that anything had happened in that apartment. They made sure that it was all completely covered. They didn't want any remnants of what had happened in that apartment showing," said the neighbor.

KRQE News 13 has been unable to get in touch with the company that manages the Arroyo Villas, but a spokesperson for the District Attorney's Office confirms the apartment is used for showings, and has been since the murder. 

Jessica Kelley's trial is set for January, Gonzales' trial is on hold pending a Court of Appeals decision. 

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