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Suspect in Modesto Murders Also Charged With Killing Toddler Last Year

The man arrested in connection with the murder of five people — including his infant daughter — is also suspected of killing a two-year-old boy last year.
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The man arrested in connection with the killing of five people — including his infant daughter and her mother — in Modesto, Calif., on Saturday is also a suspect in the murder of a two-year-old boy last year, police said in a news conference Monday.

Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll said the boy, Christopher Ripley, was with suspect Martin Martinez, 30, last October when he died of blunt force trauma.

“He sustained a head injury while Martin Martinez was watching him alone,” Carroll said.

Ripley was the son of the woman who authorities have said Martinez once had a relationship with, Amanda Crews.

Crews, a Boston University graduate and a family practitioner, according to NBC affiliate KCRA, was also among the dead who were found over the weekend at her home on a quiet residential street in East Modesto.

Carroll said that authorities didn’t determine that Ripley was the victim of homicide until last week — nine months after the boy died, and two days before the five bodies were discovered.

"Homicide investigations take a great deal of time," Carroll said, adding, "You have only have one shot."

Martin Martinez was arrested on Sunday in San Jose, Calif., for the murders of two women and three children in Modesto, Calif., the day before.Santa Clara Sheriff's Department via AP

Carroll said that a children’s services agency had intervened to protect Crews’ other children, though he did not offer details. A warrant was issued for Martinez’s arrest in connection with Ripley’s death on Saturday, and police found Martinez early Sunday in San Jose, where he was leaving a movie theater with his father, Carroll said.

Carroll said that the determination that Ripley was murdered did not appear to have played a role in the killings, though he added that no other motive had yet been established.

KCRA identified the other victims as 6-month-old Rachel Martinez, who was the daughter of Martinez and Crews, 6-year-old Elizabeth and her 5-year-old friend. Martinez’s mother, Anna Brown Romero, 57, was also killed.

Carroll said that police found their bodies after responding to a 911 call from a friend of Crews, who said that she’d missed a lunch date.

“There were no survivors,” Carroll said.