Hundreds gathered over the weekend to honor Victoria Martens, two months after authorities revealed the 10-year-old was viciously raped, murdered and dismembered on the day she was to celebrate her birthday.
More than 600 mourners came together at the Copper Pointe Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Saturday, many wearing purple — Victoria’s favorite color — to pay tribute to the little girl remembered as an “amazing” child with a “special spark.”
“She would often run around her grandparents’ lawn and do her gymnastics,” Laura Bobbs, Victoria’s godmother, said during the memorial service, KRQE News 13 reported.
Instead of celebrating her 10th birthday on August 24 as planned, Victoria was given methamphetamine and was raped, choked and stabbed to death, allegedly by her mother’s boyfriend, Fabian Gonzalez, 31, and his cousin, Jessica Kelley, 31.
After the little girl was tortured and murdered as her mother, Michelle Martens, 35, allegedly watched, authorities say the pair then dismembered her body.
Authorities discovered Victoria’s remains wrapped in a burning blanket in the bathtub of Martens’ apartment.
Martens allegedly said she “enjoyed” watching men rape Victoria and had sought out men to abuse the little girl multiple times before her death.
“Michelle said ‘yeah’ when asked if she would agree with them over the internet or over the phone that they would come over and have sex with her children,” an investigator wrote in documents obtained by the Albuquerque Journal.
Martens is charged with kidnapping and child abuse resulting in death. Gonzales and Kelley face the same charges, as well as child rape.
All three pleaded not guilty and remain behind bars while awaiting trial.
Victoria’s grisly murder served as a reminder to officials that more must be done to protect those who can’t protect themselves, authorities said.
“Let us strengthen our resolve to look out for each other, take care of each other, watch out for those who cannot take care of themes,” Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said at Victoria’s memorial service.
As the service came to a close, white doves were released into the sky to symbolize peace, an optimistic outlook that mirrored Victoria’s loved one’s hopes for her final resting place.
“She is no longer in pain,” Governor Susana Martinez said, according to KOB4. “She’s in God’s arms and she’s living in peace.”
Bobbs echoed Martinez’s sentiments, saying: “She [Victoria] was one of God’s borrowed angels.”