Modesto, Calif., police say the two women and three girls found dead in a home over the weekend include the homicide suspect’s daughter and the daughter’s mother.
While police have not released the victims’ names, family and friends identified three of them as Dr. Amanda Crews, 38, and her daughters, 6-year-old Elizabeth and 6-month-old Rachael, and said suspect Martin “Marty” Martinez, 30, was Rachael’s father.
Martinez was taken into custody early Sunday by San Jose police after Modesto police alerted them that Martinez could be heading to San Jose. Authorities say he has family there. Graves said Martinez was arrested on suspicion of murder. His family could not be reached for comment.
Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Heather Graves said only that the five victims were related and the ages of the girls were 6 months to 6 years. She said the suspect and one of the women were the parents of one of the children and that they had had a previous relationship. She declined to provide more details on the victims’ relationships, their names and other details regarding the homicides.
Graves said she cannot recall a homicide with more victims during her 14 years with the Police Department. Police Chief Galen Carroll said the weekend slayings increase the number of homicides in Modesto this year to 15, with eight of them linked to domestic violence.
“Although this case is still under investigation, we have unfortunately seen violence in the home take too many innocent victims,” Carroll said in an email. “We have seen a rise in domestic violence in our community. Earlier this year, we had the tragic murder-suicide of a wife and two children by the father. We have also had other senseless homicides in the past few years involving family members and/or acquaintances.”
Dr. Alisha Pratt said Crews was her attending physician when Pratt underwent her family medicine residency in Modesto from 2009 to 2012. Pratt said she and Crews became friends and Crews was an amazing doctor and person. She said Crews worked for Stanislaus County’s Health Services Agency, most recently in Modesto.
“She taught us to be compassionate and caring,” Pratt said, “that there was more to medicine than just the textbooks. She wanted us to be good doctors. She was a good person to emulate because she was that.”
Crews’ mother, Paulette Beidleman of Fallon, Nev., said her daughter decided to become a doctor after breaking her arm in grade school. “I think it was helping people feel better,” she said about her daughter’s decision. “She was a people person. She was very outgoing.”
Beidleman said she spoke with her daughter Thursday and everything appeared to be fine.
“It’s shocking,” she said about the deaths. “I’m still in shock.”
Police officers were called to do a security check at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the home in the Village I subdivision. Officers found the bodies of the women and children inside. Beidleman said one of Crews’ friends grew concerned after Crews and her daughter did not meet the friend and the friend’s daughter after they had made plans.
There are about two dozen homes the street. On Sunday, neighbors said they did not know the people who lived at the home where the bodies were found; other neighbors declined to comment or were not at home.
Beidleman would confirm only the name of her daughter among the victims. She said she met Martinez briefly about a year ago when he and her daughter were in Nevada. Pratt identified Crews and two of the other victims as Crews’ daughters. She said Martinez was the father of Crews’ 6-month-old daughter and had once worked at the Health Services Agency.