The suburban Atlanta mother facing murder charges after four of her young children and their father were found stabbed to death at home early Thursday morning is staying in the country illegally as discovered by federal authorities.
Federal immigration authorities said the 33-year-old Isabel Martinez, a Mexican national, illegally entered the United States. It is not yet clear when and where she crossed the U.S. border. She is now being held on immigration detainer for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Authorities said this is Martinez’s first encounter with ICE.
During her first court appearance earlier today, Martinez even smiled and gave a double thumbs up sign to cameras. She later told a judge that she doesn’t want an attorney.
Before the hearing, Martinez sat with other inmates and struck poses for news cameras, and aside from the smiles and double thumbs up, she also put her hands in a prayer position and spread her arms wide.
As Judge Thorpe enumerated the charges she faces, Martinez smiled, shook her head “no“ and wagged her finger at him. The judge had to admonish her not to put on a show for the cameras.
Martinez also added that aside from not wanting a lawyer, her attorney “will always be the people and her faith. “
Identified by authorities by her full name Maria Isabel Garduno-Martinez, she has been charged with five counts of murder, five counts of malice murder and six counts of aggravated assault.
The Mexican was arrested on Thursday and is being held without bond. Authorities have not yet established a motive for the killings.
The police said in an earlier statement: “What prompts a person to take the life of such innocent children and her spouse is something we may never understand. This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighborhood and community. “
Authorities have said Martinez has been cooperative with the investigators so far.
Based from early indications, a knife was used to attack the five, though a medical examiner is yet to make the final determination about the cause of death.
The four children killed were identified as Isabela Martinez, 10; Dacota Romero.7; Dillan Romero,4; and Axel Romero, 2. The slain father was Martin Romero, 33. Another child was badly injured, 9-year-old Diana Romero. Diana is hospitalized in Atlanta and is in a serious but stable condition.
President Trump has been actively pushing for the building of a wall between the borders of the U.S. and Mexico. He is also remembered for issuing that controversial and strong comment during the campaign last year where he said: “We’re going to secure the border, and once the border is secured at a later date, we’ll make a determination as to the rest. But we have now some bad hombres and we’re going to get them out. “