Brittany Walker-Martie is being mourned by family and friends, including her 11-year-old daughter, after dying in an attempt to save her son during an abduction in Arizona.
Walker-Martie was reportedly thrown from her own minivan after her son’s father, Eric Maes, 30, hopped in the front seat of the vehicle and drove off with the 10-month-old inside.
According to the Peoria Police Department, Walker-Martie succumbed to the injuries she sustained amid the abduction of her 10-month-old son Abel Maes last Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday, her daughter, Prudence,11, appeared at a public vigil — informing reporters through tears, “I love her so much.”
“She was my mommy,” she said of the late Walker-Martie, “She was always there for us.”
Heather Giard, Walker-Martie’s best friend, said that the mom “died for her son.”
“She died trying to save little Abel,” Giard said.
Walker-Martie had full custody of their 10-month-old Abel. And as the mother was reportedly loading the baby into her Chrysler minivan outside the home of an acquaintance, Maes showed up, hopped into the driver’s seat, and began to drive away.
Maes and the baby’s location was still unknown at this point. At midnight, the Amber Alert was issued for Abel, and just an hour later, a call came in that the baby had been found at a home in north Phoenix. But when officers arrived at the home around 1 a.m., his father was not present.
Abel had been abandoned on the doorstep of a home near 23rd Avenue and 21st Drive, and he was quickly brought in by the homeowner. Thankfully, the baby was in good health. The mother’s stolen minivan was also found less than a mile away from where Abel was left.
A few days later, he was finally caught and promptly charged with one count of manslaughter in the death of Brittany Walker-Martie, though police did note that those charges could be added or amended. And according to the latest update from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Maes’ charges now include charges of homicide, theft, assault, and kidnapping.
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