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Victoria Martens' grandparents file civil lawsuit against APD

Brittany Costello
August 15, 2017 10:31 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The grandparents of Victoria Martens have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Albuquerque Police Department following her brutal murder last year.

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Michelle Martens, Fabian Gonzales and Jessica Kelley are charged with raping, killing and dismembering the 10-year-old girl in Aug. 2016. The three will be tried in separate trials next year, beginning with Michelle Martens, Victoria's mother.

Pat and John Martens filed the lawsuit on Tuesday. They claim police failed to investigate child abuse reports prior to Victoria's death.  Those claims were reported five months prior to her murder, according to the lawsuit.

There was a claim that one of Michelle Martens boyfriend’s, Gonzales, tried to kiss Victoria. But the suit charges that allegation was never investigated. According to the lawsuit, it is partially because of the "inadequate training of APD employees."

By law, they must investigate any child abuse allegation of a minor. Despite that, the suit says there was no police follow up. Instead, they "wrongly believed that a warrant and probable cause were required," which is not the case according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges the public information officer at the time, Fred Duran, told the media APD had gone to the Martens home. The plaintiffs say that was an attempt to “cover up the fact the city failed to comply.”

The suit goes on to say that "by failing to investigate the CYFD report of assault and child abuse of Victoria Martens ... defendants wrongfully caused the death of Victoria Martens."

Now the Martens family demanding the courts to order that APD be required to change its policy and implement a 24-hour review process. In addition, conduct annual training on crimes against children. On top of the 24-hour review, there needs to be separate supervisory review and action plan.

Then the chief of police needs to review those findings. The Martens family is also seeking compensation.

The city of Albuquerque released this statement in regard to the lawsuit: “The City has not yet been served with this new lawsuit.  When it is served, the City will review it and file an answer to the complaint.”

Credits

Brittany Costello

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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