Brittany Walker-Martie died after she was thrown from a moving minivan with her infant son inside, according to police
Family and friends are mourning the loss of Brittany Walker-Martie, a 30-year-old mom who tragically died trying to protect her infant son during a kidnapping in Arizona.
Walker-Martie succumbed to the injuries she sustained during the abduction of her 10-month-old son Abel Maes in a residential neighborhood on Tuesday night, according to the Peoria Police Department.
On Wednesday, her 11-year-old daughter Prudence appeared at a public vigil, according KTVK, where she told reporters through tears, “I love her so much.”
“She was my mommy,” she said of Walker-Martie. “She was always there for us.”
Walker-Martie’s best friend, Heather Giard, said that the mom “died for her son.”
“She died trying to save little Abel,” Giard said.
According to police, Walker-Martie was thrown from a moving minivan when her son’s noncustodial father, Eric Maes, allegedly jumped into the driver’s seat and started driving away with the infant inside.
Officers responding to a report of a domestic violence incident found Walker-Martie on scene with life-threatening injuries. She was transported to a hospital, where she later died.
Abel was found on Wednesday morning after officers issued an AMBER Alert and received a report of an abandoned child located 11 miles away from where he was taken, police said.
Walker-Martie’s car was discovered abandoned at another location, prompting authorities to issue a public plea for information about Maes’ whereabouts.
Maes was arrested following a “foot pursuit” in Phoenix on Wednesday afternoon after officers received a call about a possible suspect sighting, according to Peoria Police.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Peoria Police Sgt. Amanda Gaines said that Maes was initially booked on one count of manslaughter, but his charges have been amended to one count each of murder in the first degree, kidnapping, endangerment, and theft of means of transportation following an interview with the suspect.
Charges may be added or amended as an investigation is ongoing, according to Gaines.
It’s unclear if Maes has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf or if he has entered a plea at this time.