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Parents of missing Utah girl believe she was the one killed in shootout

Post by Mike Archbold on Jan. 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
January 26, 2011 12:36 pm
Astrid Valdivia

The parents of a missing 13-year-old girl in Utah believe she was killed in a shootout Sunday in a Walmart parking lot in Port Orchard, according to a story today in the Deseret News.

Washington State Patrol detectives investigating the shootout have not made an official identification of the girl who died in the shootout along with Anthony A. Martinez, 31.

By Pat Reavy and Sarah Dallof

Deseret News

CLEARFIELD — The parents of a missing Utah teenager say they are nearly certain their 13-year-old daughter was the girl who was killed in a weekend shootout with police in Washington.

Investigators in Washington said Tuesday that dental records are needed to officially identify the young girl — a task that could take a week.

Neither authorities in Washington nor Utah could confirm Tuesday whether the teenage girl killed in front of a Walmart in Port Orchard, Wash., about 15 miles west of Seattle across Puget Sound, is Astrid Valdivia, who ran away from a South Salt Lake foster home.

But a spokesman for her family said Tuesday they know it was her and are planning for her funeral.

Sunday afternoon, police say Anthony Allen Martinez, 30, shot two Kitsap County, Wash., sheriff’s deputies before he was fatally shot by a third deputy. The Kitsap County Coroner’s Office confirmed the cause of his death was a single gunshot wound to the chest.

At some point during the confrontation, a teenage girl ran toward Martinez. Witnesses reported seeing the girl run toward the man after he was shot. It was unknown Tuesday whether the girl was shot by police gunfire or by Martinez’s gun.

Martinez was charged in October in 2nd District Court in Davis County with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, after authorities found him in Sacramento, Calif., with Astrid, a Clearfield resident who had left a note saying she was running away. Martinez, who was free on $25,000 bail, was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on that case.

Barrett Martinez told reporters Monday that his brother was not a pedophile, but was just trying to help the girl because she was going through many difficulties, including thoughts of suicide. But a spokesman for Astrid’s family said he had no business being with her.

“If I called somebody and said I’m going to take my life, what’s the first thing you’re going to do? Are you going to take me out of the state twice when I’m 13 years old? Or are you going to call somebody and get that taken care of?” said family friend and spokesman Christopher Bateman.

“I don’t believe that. I think it’s a complete lie. He kidnapped this little girl,” he said. “She might have gone with him, but I think there was some brainwashing involved. … Thirteen-year-old girls just don’t run away with 31-year-old men and call them her lover.”

Bateman said Anthony Martinez was a friend of Astrid’s mother when Astrid was about 4 years old. He never lived with the family, Bateman said, and Astrid had not seen or communicated with him until they ran into each other in April of last year at a store. The family was unaware of any contact between them until she ran away with him the first time.

“Obviously they were communicating because she ran away with him in September, but we have no idea how,” Bateman said. “They say that they were lovers. That’s been said many times. We don’t know the exact relationship.”

On Jan. 18, Valdivia ran away from her South Salt Lake foster care home, where she had been placed following the September incident. It was clear she had planned it out, said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller. She cut off her ankle monitor and packed all of her possessions, he said. She was last seen about 10 p.m.

It was unclear Tuesday who issued the ankle tracking device. The Division of Child and Family Services does not place ankle monitors on children placed into foster care. However, juvenile court judges can order them for children. Once a court order is given, the agency with custody of the child contracts with providers to monitor compliance, according to court officials.

Keller did not know Tuesday whether Valdivia had been communicating with anyone prior to running away via text messages or e-mails. He did not know if investigators had been able to check any of those records as of Tuesday.

Bateman said Astrid had a stable home life but was placed in foster care in order to protect her from Anthony Martinez.

“He’s not even part of the family. He’s not blood. He’s nothing to the family,” he said of Martinez. “Why would he even have her there (in Washington)? I think he’s the one who put her in harm’s way.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Valdivia’s missing person case was still considered active.

The deputies shot in Washington are expected to make full recoveries.

Tuesday, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office released more information about the three deputies involved in the incident.

Deputy Andrew Paul Ejde, 48, was shot in his left shoulder and right arm. He was listed Tuesday in satisfactory condition at Tacoma General Hospital and was expected to be released sometime within the next two days to continue his recovery at home.

Deputy John Roy Stacy, 50, was shot in the right shoulder. He was released from Tacoma General Hospital Monday afternoon.

Deputy Krista Rae McDonald, 38, is on standard paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting. McDonald fired at Martinez after her fellow deputies had been shot, ending the shootout. She was not injured.

Bateman described Astrid as a typical teenager who loved music, smiled a lot, was close to her sister and brother and “loved everything.”

“She was a good person and it’s really hard to even imagine a 13-year-old girl in this situation. Even if it she wasn’t (taken) against her will, it’s probably still a hard situation for her.”

He said the family is anxious to receive an official confirmation and have her returned to Utah.

“This is a horrible tragedy for them. They just need some peace.”

Donations to the family are being accepted at Wells Fargo under the name of Astrid’s mother, Jackalyn Rimola.

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