An Arizona City man appeared in court Thursday on charges of second-degree murder in the death of his two-year-old daughter.
Prosecutors said they have offered a plea deal to Ty Martin, who is accused of leaving his child unattended in a vehicle while he visited friends. The girl later died of heat exposure. Martin is represented by Mohave County Public Defender Ron Gilleo. The terms of the plea offer were not immediately available. Gilleo said at Thursday’s pre-trial conference that he intends to make a counter-offer on Martin’s behalf.
Martin’s story began May 11, when officers responded to a Cadet Lane address, where he had allegedly left his child unattended while visiting with friends. Originally arrested on charges of manslaughter, the charge against him was elevated to second-degree murder as additional details emerged in the case.
Those details were released to the public early last month.
The Beginning of a Nightmare
Ty Martin brought his daughter, Madison, to the home of an old friend on May 11. By the time they got there, however, she had fallen asleep in her child seat.
Martin emerged from the vehicle and opened Madison’s door, leaned in and kissed his daughter’s forehead. She stirred, then drifted back to sleep with a bottle of milk he’d bought for her minutes earlier.
Less than an hour later, Lake Havasu City Police officers found Martin near his vehicle, parked in the area of Cadet Lane, weeping hysterically as he attempted CPR over his daughter’s unconscious body. Officers felt Madison’s wrist for a pulse when they arrived, and found none before taking over life-saving efforts. Paramedics arrived at the scene and transported Madison to Havasu Regional Medical Center for emergency treatment. She was pronounced deceased shortly afterward – the cause of which was determined to have been severe heat exposure.
A Tragedy for Mother’s Day
According to Martin’s alleged statements, the weekend of Mother’s Day provided an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family in Havasu. Martin, a former Havasu resident, was accompanied by his wife and three daughters.
Martin planned to visit old friends while in Havasu, he allegedly told officers, including Havasu residents Edward Upton, 22, and Noah Grabowski, 23. Martin’s wife asked him to “give her a break” by taking their two-year-old daughter, Madison G. Martin, with him.
Martin arrived at the residence shared by Upton and Grabowski. According to Martin’s alleged statements to police, Upton left with his girlfriend a short time later, and Martin took his daughter to a nearby convenience store to buy a bottle of milk for her.
He returned to the residence, intending to take Grabowski to a restaurant for lunch. According to police, officers later discovered Martin had parked his vehicle nearly one mile from his friends’ home. He told police that he left his daughter inside of the vehicle with the air conditioner on at its lowest setting, and smoked marijuana at the residence while Grabowski prepared to leave with him.
According to one witness, Martin was at the home about fifteen minutes as Grabowski showered and prepared to leave.
Police questioned Grabowski, who allegedly told them the air in Martin’s vehicle had been left on, but the interior felt warm and stuffy inside when they climbed in. Grabowski was unaware Martin’s daughter was in the vehicle until he turned in his seat and saw her in the back of the car, the report said. According to his alleged statement to police, he told Martin the child appeared to be sweating profusely, and Martin reached back to feel his daughter’s skin.
Martin immediately pulled his vehicle over and told Grabowski to call 911.
On May 11, the first waves of deadly summer heat were beginning to set upon Lake Havasu City. Weather agencies reported an outside temperature of about 84 degrees, according to police, who conducted a series of temperature tests on the interior of his vehicle once he was taken into custody.
With the vehicle’s air conditioner adjusted to its lowest setting, police said, the vehicle’s interior temperature could have risen as high as 109 degrees in the time Martin’s daughter was left unaccompanied.
According to a 2017 report by health information resource Healthline, hyperthermia can become severe if a person’s body temperature is elevated above 104 degrees. As Madison Martin’s body temperature elevated, symptoms may have begun with feelings of dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting and headache. As time passed, symptoms such as confusion and weakened pulse could have begun to take hold. Eventually, Madison Martin would no longer be able to sweat to keep her body cool. Loss of consciousness, organ failure, coma and death are often the final stages of hyperthermia without immediate medical treatment.
Based on information gained by Martin and other witnesses, officers served a search warrant at Grabowski’s home on the afternoon of May 11. According to police, multiple marijuana plants were found in the residence, as well as items of drug paraphernalia.
Grabowski was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and production of marijuana. Upton was arrested on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. An additional suspect, 23-year-old Havasu resident Johnny Moody, was arrested on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia.
As of Thursday afternoon, Martin remained in custody at Mohave County Jail on $500,000 bond.