ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two plea deals and a guilty verdict tied to the death of 10-year-old Victoria Martens, but no one is actually facing charges for killing her. Jennifer Burrill is president-elect of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Like thousands in the New Mexico community, she was shocked by the district attorney’s 2018 announcement that unknown male DNA was found on Victoria’s body.

Prosecutors believe, and later argued in court, that man was her killer, who went into her west side apartment in 2016 and strangled her in cold blood to send a message to her mother’s boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales. “If there’s still a murderer running around… because we still don’t know who killed that little girl… then our community is not any safer,” Burrill said.

However, News 13 has learned with an accused murderer still at large, APD considers the Martens investigation a closed case. “We don’t think there’s much purpose to assign a full-time investigator to it right now,” said APD Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock.

Hartsock personally worked on the Martens investigation and says they’ve run out of ways to test the small amount of unknown male DNA that they do have. “As of right now, in 2022, we have tried to use the most advanced methods possible, and it hasn’t produced a match for us yet.”

Hartsock believes someday they’ll get a DNA match, but he says it does not mean that man actually killed Victoria. “We’re going to find out who this person is. Does that mean they’re the fourth person who helped or killed Victoria… man, we just won’t know until we know who they are, and right now, we don’t know,” Hartsock said.

Burrill trusts the science but finds it odd the unknown man accused of such a violent crime has no prior criminal record. “It would make you wonder, right? Because most people wouldn’t engage in a murder as their first criminal act.”

Burrill thinks APD closing the investigation now is a sure sign of a bungled investigation and says justice for Victoria has still not been served. “If APD chooses to shut the door on this, then they’ve chosen to not make the community safer and not hold anybody accountable, and so it’s a sad day for everybody involved,” Burrill said.

In New Mexico, there is no statute of limitations on murder, so when and if investigators get a DNA match or a new witness comes forward with reliable information, APD says they would assign new detectives to the case.