An autopsy report into the death of Victoria Martens has reportedly confirmed the cause of death was strangulation following sexual abuse.
She is said to have contracted the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV), strengthing belief she was abused before her August 23 death, hours after celebrating her 10th birthday.
Her mother Michelle Martens, 35, was charged with murder and rape in the case, along with her boyfriend Fabian Gonzales, 32, and his cousin Jessica Kelley, 32.
Police had reportedly believed the northwest Albuquerque mum watched as her lover raped and strangled her daughter before the boyfriend and his cousin dismembered her and set the body on fire in a bathtub, The Albuquerque Journal reports.
She had sex with Gonzales 20 minutes later, it was reported.
While the mother claimed and police believed she had given the girl methamphetamine, the toxicology reports found no evidence of the substance and instead found alcohol.
“In an alcohol naive person, this level of alcohol could cause cognitive and physical impairment,” the report said.
The autopsy found physical evidence of rape but no sperm.
The dismemberment occurred after her death, with the autopsy saying: “The sharp force injuries described … showed no vital response – a finding in keeping with being inflicted post-mortem.”
The mother had told police she had looked for men online to have sex with her daughter.
Tributes to Victoria were paid at a memorial service in August where more than 600 mourners dressed in purple – the youngster’s favourite colour.
Among those was her godmother Laura Bobbs, who remembered the little girl for her ‘special spark’, saying: “She would often run around her grandparent’s lawn and do her gymnastics.”
Ms Bobbs has supported Victoria’s family throughout their ordeal.
She appeared alongside Victoria’s grandparents John and Pat Martens, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, in their first television interview on KRQE 13 News after the tragedy.
The couple, who retired to take care of Victoria and her younger brother, said they are standing by their daughter despite the allegations against her.
Ms Bobbs also told the programme that people “don’t know her [Michelle] like we do”.
Grandfather John told the broadcaster he saw Victoria on a daily basis.
“I would watch her all the time, pick them up from the school bus, Michelle was working,” he said.
“We never noticed anything. She would go to the park happy, making friends like that.”
Asked whether they recognised a change in Victoria’s behaviour after alleged abuse at home, he added: “Never cuddling in the corner, never crying, just normal kid stuff.”
Mr Martens said that if they had any indication of what had been happening they “wouldn’t have sat by and let it happen”.
Ms Bobbs spoke at the memorial at the Copper Pointe Church at the weekend, where tributes described Victoria as an “amazing girl” who had a “special spark”.
White doves were released into the sky to symbolize peace.
“She (Victoria) was one of God’s borrowed angels,” Bobbs added.
Details of Victoria’s horrific murder shocked the world with experienced detectives described the killing as the “most gruesome act of evil” they have ever seen.
Police said Victoria’s dismembered body was discovered wrapped in a blanket on August 24 – the day before her 10th birthday.
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, according to reports.
Inside they were met with the horrifying scene as the youngster’s burned dismembered body lay in the bathtub, while some of her remains were found in a plastic bag in a laundry hamper.
She had been injected with methamphetamine, sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed before her remains were partially wrapped in the blanket and set on fire, police said.
According to warrant documents obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, Martens told police she sought out men online to sexually assault her daughter – because she enjoyed watching.
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.
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.
Both Gonzales and Kelley – who was hospitalised after allegedly jumping from a balcony as she tried to flee the scene – have criminal records, while the mother has no previous convictions.