ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — On the day Victoria Martens was going to celebrate her 10th birthday, she was found dead in her family's apartment by Albuquerque police officers, her dismembered remains wrapped in a burning blanket.
Details of what New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and law enforcement officials described as an unspeakable crime emerged Thursday in a criminal complaint made public and filed against the girl's mother, her boyfriend and his cousin. The three were taken into custody late Wednesday night.
Police say Victoria was injected with methamphetamine, sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed before being dismembered.
A caller told a police dispatcher before dawn Wednesday that there was a disturbance in the apartment, said Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden Jr. Officers who went to the apartment complex found the gruesome crime scene.
"This homicide is the most gruesome act of evil I have ever seen in my career," Eden said Thursday. "A complete disregard of human life."
By Thursday morning, a makeshift shrine for the girl had formed under a tree at the apartment complex — with relatives and friends leaving flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and lit candles.
In the evening, dozens of people gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the apartment complex, and the shrine continued to grow, with friends and neighbors saying the memorial was Victoria's belated birthday gift.
Martinez said in a statement the abuse and killing of the girl "is unspeakable and justice should come down like a hammer."
The girl's mother, 35-year-old Michelle Martens, her 31-year-old boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales, and his 31-year-old cousin, Jessica Kelley, face charges of child abuse resulting in death, kidnapping and tampering with evidence. Gonzales and Kelley have also been charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor.
Gonzales denied having anything to do with Victoria's death as he was led out of the police station in handcuffs late Wednesday while reporters yelled questions at him. The girl's mother said nothing as she was led out and placed into the back of a police car.
Police said Kelley was hospitalized late Wednesday and will be booked after she is released. No details were disclosed about why she was hospitalized.
The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday that Kelley has a criminal history dating back to 2003 and court records show that she acted as a lookout while a woman allegedly raped another inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in September 2012.
Kelley reportedly pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit criminal sexual penetration and was sentenced to three years in prison minus nearly a year for time served.
According to the criminal complaint, the mother told police Gonzales drugged the girl so he could calm her down and have sex with her. She said Kelley held her hand over Victoria's mouth and stabbed her in the stomach after Gonzales choked the child.
The complaint also states that the mother told investigators that Gonzales and Kelley dismembered Victoria.
One of the police officers who arrived at the apartment found the girl's body in a bathroom, rolled up in a blanket that had been set on fire. The officer put it out.
Albuquerque school officials identified the girl Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement that "Victoria is in our thoughts and prayers as we hold our children just a little tighter on this sad day."
Gonzales has a New Mexico arrest record stretching back to 2004, including a felony child abuse charge, driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest.
He pleaded no contest to a charge of child abandonment in 2015 and court officials said there were two outstanding warrants for his arrest stemming from drunken driving and littering cases in South Carolina.
Kelley's arrest record includes battery, domestic violence and drug charges — most of them dismissed. Online court records show no criminal history in New Mexico for Martens.
Mug shots of Martens and Gonzales released by police showed them with bruises on their faces. In his statement in the criminal complaint, Gonzales said his cousin hit him and Martens with an iron.
Bail was set at $1 million each for Martens and Gonzales by a judge at their first court appearance Thursday afternoon. The two did not speak in court and the public defense lawyer who represented them did not comment about the allegations.
At the makeshift shrine, Christie Zamora said Victoria attended her gymnastics class every Saturday and always seemed happy.
"She was incredibly social," Zamora said. "It's just so tragic."
Neighbor John Madrid frequently saw Victoria around the apartment complex and in the morning, waiting for her school bus.
"It just hurts," Madrid said, crying.
A birthday celebration had been planned for Victoria Wednesday afternoon after she was supposed to return home from school, Laura Bobbs, a local minister, told the Albuquerque Journal.
Bobbs said she had planned the party and that they were going to have pedicures and manicures and eat cake.
She broke down sobbing and yelling Wednesday outside the apartment complex as detectives investigated.
"Who does this to a little child?" she asked. "Oh Jesus. Oh what evil."
Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/russell-contreras .