Peoria, AZ – An Arizona father has been charged with first-degree murder after he killed the mother of his child while he was trying to kidnap his son on Tuesday night.
The incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 when 30-year-old Brittany Martie arrived to pick up her child at her sister-in-law’s house near 91st Avenue and Deer Valley Road, the Arizona Republic reported.
Eric Maes, 30, told investigators later that he had been waiting, hidden outside his sister’s house, and jumped in Martie’s black Chrysler minivan to kidnap the 10-month-old baby named Abel when his mother arrived to pick him up.
Maes did not have custody of his child.
Witnesses told police that Martie grabbed onto the minivan and fought to rescue her baby, the Arizona Republic reported.
One of the bystanders told police he saw legs sticking out of the driver’s window as it passed by.
Court documents showed that Maes told police he was driving between 30 and 40 mph when Martie fell from the moving vehicle, the Arizona Republic reported.
Martie was found wrapped around a fire hydrant on the side of the road, critically injured.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert for the kidnapped baby boy.
The mother died at the hospital at about 9 p.m. that night, according to the Arizona Republic.
Police found Martie’s vehicle abandoned near Cactus Road and Interstate 17 a few hours later.
Court documents said there appeared to be blood and handprints on the hood of the minivan, according to the Arizona Republic.
The child was found at about 1 a.m. on Feb. 10 less than a mile from where the minivan was found.
Eric Maes is wanted after the Amber Alert last night.
The baby is safe, but the mother was killed when she jumped onto a car that had her baby inside.
Phoenix Police just raided a former home they lived in, Maes was not inside. pic.twitter.com/DXfoC840wZ
— Nicole Grigg (@NicoleSGrigg) February 10, 2021
Law enforcement continued to search for Maes and received a tip Wednesday afternoon that their suspect had been spotted near 23rd and Cactus Road, the Arizona Republic reported.
Officers from the Phoenix Police Department, the Peoria Police Department, and Phoenix Park Rangers searched the area and found Maes nearby.
Maes was arrested after a short foot pursuit, the Arizona Republic reported.
@PeoriaPoliceAZ amber alert suspect Eric Maes in custody after Phoenix police and park rangers spot him trying to hide, 23rd Ave & Thunderbird @PhoenixPolice #fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/OwQaEDtT5T
— Rick Davis (@rdavisfox10) February 11, 2021
UPDATE: AMBER Alert Cancelled – Child Located Safe
Abel Maes was located and is safe.
Eric Maes is still outstanding & is considered dangerous. Anyone who sees Eric or has information regarding his location is encouraged to contact the @PeoriaPoliceAZ https://t.co/XMBgFeJO4r pic.twitter.com/lowMy3BfpY
— Peoria Police (AZ) (@PeoriaPoliceAZ) February 10, 2021
Prosecutors initially charged Maes with manslaughter in the death of his son’s mother.
But when he was interviewed by detectives, Maes said that Martie had jumped from the vehicle and that he turned the minivan around and went back to run her over, the Arizona Republic reported.
He told police he intentionally drove into Martie as she stood on the sidewalk.
Maes also admitted he had a methamphetamine problem and had used the day of the kidnapping, KNXV reported.
He has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder, endangerment, and kidnapping, among a slew of additional crimes, the Arizona Republic reported.
A crows of friends and extended family gathered for a vigil in Martie’s memory on Feb. 10, KNXV reported.
Numerous people said it was no surprise that Martie gave her life trying to save her child.
“That baby was her life, she doted on that kid,” Martie’s sister told KNXV.
“We will make sure that Abel knows Brittany,” she promised.