Expert talks complications of identifying mystery suspect in Victoria Martens case | KOB 4

Expert talks complications of identifying mystery suspect in Victoria Martens case

Joy Wang
July 02, 2018 06:26 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A community saddened by the case of a 10-year-old girl murdered on her birthday is now left with more questions than answers.


After a bombshell revelation a fourth person had a hand in her death, everyone is now wondering: Who is John Doe? 

KOB spoke with legal expert Ahmad Assed who said the difficulty lies in getting enough evidence to put in front of a judge or jury to find probable cause, especially with a partial DNA sample and not a full profile.

Here's the strategy: Charge the DNA until the individual is found so that statute of limitations won't run out.

The DA’s office says it's similar to the Justin Hansen case, concerning the man arrested and charged nearly 10 years after allegedly beating a former high school student nearly to death.

It was also used in the Ether Man case, where DNA was found in a rape kit and Robert Howard Bruce was charged.

“The distinguishing feature between that and the Bruce case and the Hansen case, I believe, is that there was, in those previous cases, the full profile that matched the rape kit analysis,” Assed said.

That full profile is not available in the partial DNA sample District Attorney Raul Torrez discussed on Friday, who said it's not enough to check through a federal database.

However, it is enough to check against a specific person.

“It's a leap to associate the finding of the DNA – those samples – with a crime," Assed said. "There's transferred DNA that happens all the time. I don't know how long that DNA's been there—could have been there days, could have been there months, could have been there hours."

Another concern is that first responders were checked against that collected DNA, meaning there needs to be more evidence to prove probable cause.

Further, the DNA might prove there was contact, but not necessarily that a crime was committed.

"There is a gap of nexus in terms of the finding of the DNA and any criminal activity,” Assed said. “That tells me that the DNA that was picked up, namely these partial DNA samples, may not have been on any particular area that would cause some concern about the source of the DNA.”

Then there's the question of motive behind presenting that evidence without more information, especially if there is no statute limitations when it comes to alleged murder.

“Why do we publicize that we are looking for this unidentified individual? And if he does exist, why do we put him on notice that we're looking for him?" Assed said. "This is a big problem for me. I'm sure maybe the DA's office has their reasoning for doing that."


Joy Wang

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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