A New Mexico community is reeling after a 10-year-old girl was found dead in her family’s basement, with her battered, dismembered body wrapped in a burning blanket, reports say.
Hundreds gathered at a vigil in Albuquerque on Thursday to mourn the death of Victoria Martens, as her parents and a cousin face a slew of charges in the girl’s death, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
“I know she is in a better place now, but I can’t believe that happened to her,” Jessica Quintana, who used to babysit Victoria, told the Journal. “She was so young. I miss her.”
Police said the girl was injected with methamphetamine, sexually assaulted and then killed before being dismembered on Wednesday – the day after her 10th birthday, the Associated Press reports.
“This homicide is the most gruesome act of evil I have ever seen in my career,” Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden Jr. said, according to the AP.
In a statement, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said the abuse and killing of the girl “is unspeakable and justice should come down like a hammer,” ABC News reports.
Albuquerque Police announced the death at a press conference on Wednesday, noting that the victim was a 10-year-old child but did not give her name. Police later announced the names of the suspects in a statement posted on Facebook.
Victoria’s mother, 35-year-old Michelle Martens, her father Fabian Gonzales, 31, and Gonzales’ cousin, 31-year-old Jessica Kelley, face charges including kidnapping, child abuse resulting in death, and tampering with evidence, CBS News reports.
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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Char Adams