ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Victoria Martens spent many weekends learning gymnastics.
Her coach, Christie Zamora, heard the news Thursday.
“I was sitting on my couch and as soon as they said Victoria’s name, I broke down and cried,” Zamora said.
She learned the girl killed in a gory murder was the same smiling girl she taught for a few years at G-Force Gymnastics Academy.
“You want every child to feel loved. You don’t want any child to go through that but when you know them, it tugs at your heart,” Zamora said.
Victoria did handstands and practiced balancing on the beam each Saturday in her beginning recreational class, Zamora said.
“A beautiful child, very friendly, very outgoing,” Zamora said.
She said Victoria’s mom, Michelle Martens—now one of the accused killers—would often bring her to gymnastics.
“Her mom would watch her, would engage with her. Some parents drop off their kids and leave. Her mom always stayed and watched her,” Zamora said. “Never in a million years would I have thought that Victoria’s home life was anything near this.”
She said she last saw Victoria and her mother three months ago when school let out for summer.
“In my heart, I’m telling myself that that’s where everything went bad.”
Now, she is mourning Victoria’s loss and holding her other students a little closer to her heart.
“I’m going to go ahead and make sure that they get an extra hug and they know that they’re cared about,” she said.