A closer look at the Victoria Martens’ case

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Three suspects have now been sentenced in the Victoria Martens’ case, but investigators say an unknown fourth suspect is out there.

KOB 4 has a closer look at what we know about the case, and why this might be the end of this very sad story.

Victoria Martens was brutally murdered on August 23, 2016 — on her 10th birthday. Just hours later her mother, Michelle, Michelle’s boyfriend Fabian Gonzales, and Fabian’s cousin Jessica Kelley were all arrested.

Today, they remain the only known suspects in the case, and ultimately, not one of them were charged with her murder. 

On Thursday, Michelle Martens just received a 12-year sentence after taking a plea deal for child abuse. 

Jessica Kelley also took a plea deal, pleading no contest to six charges including “reckless child abuse resulting in death.” In April, Kelley was sentenced to 44 years in prison. 

Fabian Gonzales went on trial in July and was found guilty of child abuse with reckless disregard.

“We find the defendant guilty of child abuse with reckless disregard,” said the judge. 

He was found guilty on nine counts, including child abuse and tampering with evidence.

Just last month, Fabian was sentenced to 37.5 years in prison, but one main question remains — who took Victoria’s young life? 

Investigators say it was a fourth, unknown man. 

“I know that APD has an active case file open on this particular suspect,” said Bernalillo County District Attorney, Raúl Torrez. 

Prosecutors say a man who was seeking gang retaliation against Gonzales is the killer in this case. They base that theory on statements from Jessica Kelley and unidentified DNA found primarily on Victoria’s back. 

The defense for Fabian doesn’t buy the fourth suspect theory, they say Victoria’s killer is already in jail. 

“The person who killed little Victoria made a plea bargain and testified falsely in this case, and she’s probably laughing now at the fact that the State of New Mexico accepted her version of what happened,” said the defense attorney. 

In August, Torrez told KOB 4 investigators don’t know if they’ll ever be able to identify a fourth suspect. But, he said they’re not giving up.

“But look, we are seeing cases decades sometimes after an initial crime has been committed, and then new development, new technology, and new witnesses come forward, and you know we never give up hope in this line of work,” said Torrez.