Stephanie Martinez
November 16, 1996 - December 31, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial

On December 26, 2001, a woman named Clenteen Sue Williams submerged Stephanie Martinez in a scalding hot tub of water and then allowed the burn blisters to become infected causing Sepsis, which causes bacteria to grow in the blood of untreated second and third degree burns. Stephanie died five days later.

Clenteen claims that she ran warm bath water into the tub for Stephanie to take a bath and that she tested it with her own elbow to be sure that it was not to hot. She claims that she then left the room and about 15 minutes later heard screaming and returned to the bathroom to find Stephanie sitting in scalding hot water and she then immediately took her out and treated her burns with Aloe Veer and Epsom Salts. Clenteen also denies ever beating Stephanie but could not explain the  bruises she had on her body, head and face. She claims that these children were  always hurting themselves. She had this to say:

"I never beat her on the head. The little girl and little boy, they throbbed  the tantrums, they 
beat their heads on the floor and against the wall. These children have terrible problems that 
we don't know how to deal with, I had the little girl right here, and here she and her brother,
they  get upset about something, they going to throw the tantrum. I said, I'm not having 
these tantrums, so you just cut it out. I'm not having these tantrums and you 
being hurtful to your own self." 

An autopsy performed on Stephanie showed more than 100 injuries, which her grandmother claimed she gave to herself. Clenteen told police that she was afraid that she would be charged with child abuse if she took Stephanie to the hospital. Clenteen did admit to hitting stephanie with an extension cord on her burned legs and her bottom on the same day that she died.

Unbelievably, Clenteen relatives asked the judge for mercy claiming that she was only guilty of taking on the responsibility of more children than she could care for.

In March of 2003, Clenteen was sentenced to the maximum term of 48 years in prison.

UPDATE: January 14, 2015 (Thank you Cat for this update)

Cat sent me a link with some information about the life of Stephanie as well as information about Clenteen asking for early release.

Stephanie had received a Barb Doll on her 5th birthday, it was said that the Barb looked just like her.

The abuse that Stephanie had been suffering through was no secret to those who knew her, the problem was that none of the people who knew about it, could be bothered to do anything, they ignored it, they ignore her suffering, they ignore her. How sad is that?

Stephanie's mother, Valerie Mends, had gone to prison and that is when her life became the nightmare that she had to live for the last five months of her life. Stephanie was whipped with a belt, a paddle and an electric cord and then she was left alone in the closet. During the last few hours of her life, Stephanie was on the floor, clenching her teeth and hands and she was dying from an infection. Paramedics arrived and after going up the stairs, they realized they were too late to save this little Angel.

Here is some background information: Sam Martinez was the father of Stephanie, Valerie had met him when she was in high school, he was 11 years older than she was. Valerie said he was nice, he was older, he was cool and he had a car, she said they got along really well. Valerie said that she wanted to visit her father one time and Sam packed up and took her. Valerie's mother, Maxcine said that she didn't call home for a week and she thought it was because she was afraid to tell her mother that she was pregnant.

Stephanie was said to have been a good baby who slept through the night at a very early age and very rarely cried:

"She was maybe two months old and she could sit and hold her bottle and watch TV"
Valerie Mends

When Stephanie was still very young, Valerie and Sam decided they would return to Pueblo and on the way, they were stopped in Arizona for a traffic violations. Valerie had a warrant for an aggravated robbery that had taken place about a year go:

"One night we went out, me, Sam and my cousin and Sam's cousin. There was
this guy, I guess they didn't like. So they all jumped out of the car and they were
arguing and it turned into a fight"

The arrest warrant said that the cousins told Police that Valerie had beaten up two people with a baseball bat and that someone had stolen a leather jacket from one of the victims of the assault. Stephanie and Sam made it Maxcine's house and then Sam was arrested on a warrant.

In July of 1997, Valerie plead guilty to a lesser charge and was sent to jail for 90 days with four years probation. Before they went to jail, Valerie ended up getting pregnant again and Sammy Jr. was born on April 1, 1998. Stephanie adored her little brother:

"Stephanie was so protective. Nobody could touch him. He was the only boy
great grandchild so everybody wanted to see him. Stephanie would scream
and cry and say: Don't take my brother"

Valerie and Maxcine were able to work out a system where one of them was with the children at all times. Valerie said that she had dreamed that one of her children died so she didn't want to put them in daycare or with anyone other than herself or her mother.

Valerie became involved with a man named David, while Sam was in prison. A third child, David, was born in May of 2000, Valerie was 22 years old at that time. David didn't want anything to do with his son, however, his mother, Clenteen Sue Williams was very involved in his and Valerie's life:

"We were inseparable, basically like two teen age kids. She knew how hard
it was for me to take care of all the kids. She was always there no matter what,
letting me know it was going to be okay, it's going to get easier. She was kind
of like another mother. I loved her a lot"

That relationship is what lead to Stephanie being Clenteen custody and her eventual death. Clenteen was prosecuted and sentenced to prison time of 48 years. Fast forward to 2012:

In February of 2012 Clenteen Sue Williams was 61 years old and had served ten years of her sentence. Deputy District Attorney Bob Case was reminding a court that Stephanie had over 100 injuries to her body when she died at the hands of Clenteen. Clenteen had filed a motion for early release saying her health was failing, she was on oxygen and needed a wheelchair to get around, Clenteen said that her days on Earth were coming to an end:

"I have one lung left and that one's not all that good. My son doesn't want to hear
it but he's here today so he has to. I'm going fast, but it's Jehovah's will"

Clenteen was still denying that she hurt Stephanie:

"I will go to my grave telling you the same thing, that I didn't burn Stephanie in the
bathtub. I'm guilty of not getting medical treatment"

Clenteen said that she blames herself and will feel guilty until she dies and that she has taken classes in prison and that other prisoners, including some who wrote letters of support for her to be let out of prison, look up to her. Clenteen said that she works in prison as a part time clerk and just keeps in touch with her family.

Thankfully District Judge Jill Mattoon listened for about two hours and then ruled that Clenteen would not be eligible for early release. Clenteen would be eligible for parole in 2023, let's hope the Parole Board doesn't let her out.

Death Occurred in the state of Colorado

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