ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools staff alerted the Children Youth and Families Department twice about Victoria Martens’ family. One of those times was just three months before the 10-year-old girl was murdered.
Immediately following Victoria’s murder, CYFD said the three accused killers were not on its radar.
The agency then clarified, stating the “three suspects were not on their radar for sexual or physical abuse, but that’s not to say they weren’t aware of the three at all.”
KRQE News 13’s investigation has now uncovered to what extent Victoria Martens and her family were on CYFD’s radar.
Staff at Victoria’s elementary school contacted CYFD social workers with concerns on at least two separate occasions, and that two different CYFD case workers each interviewed Victoria at school.
One of those visits from a CYFD case worker took place in May of 2016, just three months before police said Victoria was brutally murdered.
Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, her boyfriend Fabian Gonzales and his cousin Jessica Kelley are all facing charges for her murder.
When asked about past visits to Victoria’s school by CYFD case workers, CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson stated, “Per the children’s code which is state law, we can’t talk about any past investigations.”
Jacobson claims state law prevents her from addressing Victoria’s case.
“We want to be able to be as transparent as possible but again, we also have to make sure we’re following the law,” Jacobson added.
Albuquerque Public Schools won’t comment on Victoria’s case either. However, according to APS policy, staff members are directed to call in CYFD if employees suspect abuse or neglect with a child. KRQE News 13 has learned that’s what happened in this case.
When asked if CYFD did enough to protect Victoria, Jacobson said, “Again, I truly believe that everyone who’s had any interaction with this child and with this family has lost sleep asking themselves that question.”
“Did they do enough? Or how they could miss that the mother was a monster?” Jacobson added.
While Secretary Jacobson wouldn’t directly state if case workers missed anything with Victoria, she said CYFD is conducting its own investigation.
“We will and do continue to look at our protocol and policy, and did we follow all those steps,” said Jacobson. “Our children demand that as an agency we do continually look for ways to do things better and to be a stronger agency.”
Jacobson said once CYFD’s investigation into Victoria Martens’ case is complete, it may later release a summary of its findings. According to CYFD, that summary would need to be requested, then reviewed by a District Attorney.