The remains of a 10-year-old girl were discovered burning in a bathtub by police who were called to an apartment complex in Albuquerque.
Victoria Martens was injected with methamphetamine, raped, stabbed, dismembered and set alight by her own family, who betrayed and killed her in the most gruesome way imaginable the day after her 10th birthday.
Albuquerque police chief Gordon Eden said: “This is the most gruesome act of evil I have ever seen.”
The girl’s 35-year-old mother Michelle Martens, her boyfriend Fabian Gonzales, 31, and his cousin Jessica Kelley, also 31, were all arrested on Wednesday night.
Officers were called to a disturbance at Arroyo Villas Apartment Complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they saw a cloud of smoke wafting from the bathroom, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
Inside they were met with the horrifying scene as the youngster lay reportedly burning in the bathtub, while parts of her body were found in a plastic bag in a laundry hamper and the bedroom floor was stained with blood.
Martens and Gonzales, who had been dating for around a month after meeting online, face multiple charges including child abuse resulting in great bodily harm.
Kelley had reportedly been allowed to stay at Martens home after she was released from prison four days earlier.
A police report alleges that Martens admits Gonzales and Kelley gave the girl methamphetamine “to calm her down so they could have sex with her.”
Gonzales sexually assaulted the little girl as Kelley covered the girl’s mouth and Martens watched, it’s alleged.
She claimed Gonzales then strangled Victoria and Kelley stabbed her before the two of them dismembered the girl’s body and Martens told police she was not involved in the death.
The incident is said to have happened on the day Victoria was due to celebrate her 10th birthday, CBS news reports.
Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gordon Eden said in statement: “This homicide is the most gruesome act of evil I have ever seen in my career.
“A complete disregard of human life and betrayal by a mother. So many are in need of the support and prayers of our community.”
Police spokesman Tanner Tixier emotionally told reporters the girl’s body was so mutilated that investigators were unsure how she died.
They believe she may have died from asphyxiation or stab wounds, but are awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination.
Both Gonzales and Kelley, who remains in hospital after allegedly jumping from a balcony as she tried to flee the scene, have criminal records, while the mother has no previous convictions.
Victoria with her brother
Martens and Gonzales appeared in court where a judge set the bond for both at $1 million cash only.