ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Victoria Martens remains were found on a sock with Fabian Gonzales’ DNA, however, the 10-year old girls’ DNA wasn’t found on any other clothes tied to Gonzales, according to a DNA analyst who took the stand Wednesday. A Forensic Scientist with the state’s crime lab, Roslynd Archuleta spent the entirety of Wednesday’s proceedings testifying in the Fabian Gonzales trial, tied to the 2016 murder of Victoria Martens.
Archuleta’s role was to look for any biological material, like DNA, on items involved in the crime. Among the tested items discussed in court, prosecutors introduced test results for blood stains, sink water, clothing, towels, bedding, knives, carpet, and DNA swabs of Victoria’s body.
Gonzales is facing a single count of reckless child abuse resulting in death and several counts related to evidence tampering. The case represents the largest amount of testing the state’s Forensic Laboratory has ever done for a case. Archuleta described writing roughly 1,800 pages of reports in the Martens case, compared to the usual 300 pages for most other case reports.
What was discussed in court Wednesday represented just 25% to 30% of the evidence tested in the case, according to Archuleta. Most of those items tested in the case had Victoria’s blood on them, however, the presence of other DNA was mostly inconclusive.
Prosecutors are trying to prove Fabian Gonzales helped his cousin Jessica Kelley dismember Victoria’s body after they say an unknown man strangled the girl inside Martens’ westside apartment in 2016. Gonzales’ defense says Kelley is the only person responsible for killing and trying to hide Victoria’s body.
To the prosecution’s argument, Archuleta said Wednesday she did find proof of an unknown male’s partial DNA profile across four different swabs of Victoria’s back. She says that DNA did not match any of the 38 known male DNA profiles in the case including Victoria’s family, first responders, and Fabian Gonzales.
However, defense argued that the unknown male DNA found on Victoria’s body could have come from other kids or interacted with Victoria, either a neighbor or school classmate. Gonzales’ DNA wasn’t found on Victoria’s body.
Archuleta also said there was a sock found inside a hamper with Gonzales and an unknown person’s DNA inside of the heel of the sock, indicating that he likely wore it. That same sock had some of Victoria’s body tissue on it.
“[The sock] is the only item that has both Victoria and Fabian’s DNA on one object?” Gonzales’ defense attorney Stephen Aarons asked of Archuleta. “That is correct,” she responded.
Gonzales’ defense attorney, Stephen Aarons tried to argue that its unclear how the remains got on the sock. Aarons argued that the sock could have been contaminated because bags containing Victoria’s human remains were put in the hamper, where the sock was.
“To go back to my original question, trying to throw it all together, there’s nothing of Victoria on [Fabian’s] clothes,” Gonzales’ attorney Stephen Aarons asked. Archuleta answered, “That is correct.”
In the final line of questioning from prosecutors Wednesday, Bernalillo County Deputy District Attorney Greer Staley tried to highlight that male DNA is often “overwhelmed” by the presence of female DNA in scientific testing. While much of the DNA evidence was unable to be connected to a specific individuals, there was still a presence of DNA, Staley argued.
“You have in your DNA results ‘no DNA foreign to Victoria,’ that doesn’t mean that seeing that DNA means there wasn’t a male, it just means there wasn’t enough for you to produce a profile that you could compare?” Staley asked Archuleta. She respond “Right, it just means that what I did identify was in very very small quantities and I couldn’t move forward with testing.”
The testimony on DNA evidence is a first in the case, where jurors have mainly heard eyewitness testimony. In the first five days of the trial, prosecutors called first responders, evidence technicians, neighbors, Jessica Kelley, and other family and friends of Gonzales and Kelley to the stand. They testified about the days and hours surrounding Victoria Martens murder.
On Wednesday, several neighbors shared stories describing the night of Victoria’s murder during testimony Tuesday. Witnesses described Gonzales and Martens running out of the apartment after hearing a fight, then smoke alarms in the Martens apartment.
A few witnesses described seeing Gonzales and Martens arrive at a neighboring apartment building before police were called out. Gonzales described “someone” was “after them” to a neighbor to subsequently called 911.
Another neighbor, Charlene Benavidez awoke to the commotion. She testified about questioning Michelle o the location of her kids. Describing her last interactions with Michelle Martens before police got there, Benavidez said Martens “wouldn’t say anything” when asked where her kids were.
“She didn’t have any reaction, she kind of looked like she looked right through me,” Benavidez said. “I almost went downstairs to go to Michelle’s apartment, but my daughter stopped me, because I was so worried about the kids.”
2nd Judicial District Court Judge Cindy Leos is overseeing the trial. Defense attorneys Stephen Aarons and Hugh Dangler are representing Gonzales in the case. The prosecution is being lead by Greer Staley and James Grayson, both of whom are deputy district attorneys with the Bernalillo County DA’s Office.