Utah kidnap suspect killed in Walmart shootout
Roy • The brother of a man killed in a shootout with police in Washington state Sunday says his brother is being wrongly characterized as a violent pedophile. Instead, he says the man was attempting to save a teenage girl from a troubled home life.
It was not the first time his brother helped the girl escape a bad situation, said Barrett Martinez.
He said his 30-year-old brother, Anthony Allen Martinez, ended up in California with 13-year-old Astrid Valdivia in September not to pursue a sexual relationship but rather to prevent the girl from following through on suicidal threats.
The two were picked up in California on Oct. 5, and she was placed in a foster care facility in South Salt Lake. However, she ran away from the facility on Jan. 18, prompting the South Salt Lake police to issue an endangered person alert stating she likely was with Martinez. A teenage girl who appeared to be with Martinez also died in the shootout Sunday. Police have not yet confirmed the slain girl's identity.
"He was trying to help her. We told him to call [the Department of Child and Family Services]. He felt that no one would listen to him, that he was being characterized as a pedophile," said Barrett Martinez, who spoke with his brother about two weeks ago. "She said if he didn't help her, she'd kill herself."
Martinez was charged with kidnapping in the October incident. He pleaded not guilty and was scheduled for a hearing this week.
Valdivia was last seen at 10 p.m. on Jan. 18 in the foster care facility. The girl was wearing an ankle monitor, which she disabled and removed. She took all of her possessions with her.
"She obviously was intent on leaving," said South Salt Lake police spokesman Gary Keller.
Police have noted Martinez's criminal record, which includes a felony conviction for drug possession and misdemeanor convictions for aggravated assault, theft and criminal trespass.
When two deputies tried to talk to Martinez in a Walmart parking lot in Port Orchard, Wash., on Sunday, they did not know about the missing-person report on Valdivia. Martinez started running and the deputies gave chase, said Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the Washington State Patrol.
"For reasons not yet known, the suspect turned and fired multiple shots," Kitsap County sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilson said.
Both officers were hit and unable to return fire, but a female officer arriving on the scene shot and killed the gunman, Wilson said. It's not yet clear who shot the girl, who died later at a Tacoma hospital. Ballistics tests on the bullets could show whether it was the deputy or Martinez, the state patrol said.
"We believe that she and the deceased gunman knew each other, that they were together," Wilson told the Associated Press. He said investigators don't know yet the relationship between the two.
Destany Droge, 22, of Bremerton, Wash., said the two people killed appeared to be a couple.
"As soon as she saw him get shot, she ran for him," she told The News Tribune of Tacoma. "She put herself in the line of fire."
Tacoma police said both deputies were shot in the torso and were in satisfactory condition. They are expected to survive.
Barrett Martinez said he didn't realize his brother owned a gun, but he said he knows his brother didn't want to be behind bars again.
"They're trying to say my brother shot the girl," he said. "I know he was afraid and didn't want to go back to prison. It was basically suicide by cop."
Barrett Martinez said his brother had been dating Astrid's mother and didn't realize she was married. The two reportedly had lived together in Clearfield. "One day the husband came home and tried to fight my brother," Barrett Martinez said.
Anthony Allen Martinez often watched her children. He broke off the relationship after discovering the marriage, Barrett Martinez said, but Valdivia's suicide threats resonated.
"I'm sure they didn't have any sexual relationship. It was a father-daughter type deal. Astrid's mother was having a [romantic] relationship with my brother," Barrett Martinez said.
When the two left for California on Sept. 24, family members did not tell police about the girl's connection to Martinez until a week after she went missing, Clearfield Assistant Police Chief Mike Stenquist said. They were found in Sacramento on Oct. 5.
"When we interviewed her after, she wouldn't disclose any information. She wouldn't talk to us," Stenquist said.
Elizabeth Sollis, a spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, said her agency cannot confirm, by law, the foster care situation with Valdivia.
"We are working with law enforcement on this situation," Sollis said.
"He had plans for college and had enrolled at Weber State. He had a lot of good plans and things he wanted to do," Barrett Martinez said. "Everything is so distorted. My brother had a good heart, a good head and plans, but caught up with the wrong crowd."
Dan Weist, Nate Carlisle and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Review • Pair fled before
R Astrid Valdivia, 13, was found in California with Anthony Allen Martinez, 30, on Oct. 5. Police believe the two fled again Jan. 18.
Astrid Valdivia, 13, was found in California with Anthony Allen Martinez, 30, on Oct. 5. Police believe the two fled again Jan. 18. Martinez and an unidentified teenage girl died in Washington on Sunday.