Pregnant teen thanks people who helped raise $2 million bail
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The pregnant teenager accused of killing another couple's baby has talked publicly for the first time since making bail.
As Action News first reported, Megan Martzen is out on a $2 million bail after family members raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay a bail bondsman.
She's accused of killing 17-month-old Ella van Leeuwen while caring for the child last year.
Martzen's attorney really only let her say one or two sentences during the press conference at his office.
But we did learn about her pregnancy, and whether she intends to go back to babysitting like she was for the victim in this case.
Martzen's first and only public words since bailing out of jail thanked the people who helped her get out.
"I just wanted to thank all the people that have helped and have supported me through all of this," she said. "I just, I really appreciate it. Thank you."
More than 100 supporters have donated about $40,000 to Martzen's defense fund, which helped get the pregnant 19-year-old out of jail Thursday.
With just two months left before her baby boy is due, her family felt it was urgent for her to come home.
"As much as they do to protect inmates, it can be a very dangerous place and especially for a pregnant woman," said her defense attorney, Jeff Hammerschmidt.
Martzen is accused of killing 17-month-old Ella van Leeuwen while babysitting.
The girl suffered a fractured skull.
Martzen told neighbors Ella fell off the bed, but coroners ruled the injuries were much worse than an accident could have caused.
Ella's father issued this statement to action news Friday:
"My family is waiting for the truth," he said. "The truth will come out in court and the truth never changes. We miss Ella Joy very much."
ABC-30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi says holding a press conference for Martzen on the day after her release is good strategy by her attorney.
"All of the video that we've seen of her is in court or leaving court -- in jail clothing or in handcuffs," he said. "This is humanizing the defendant, showing her in a dress with makeup in a very emotional state."
As for her future, a looming murder trial makes it cloudy, but at least for now, Martzen knows it won't include the job she had before her arrest.
"Would she go back to babysitting?" asked this ABC-30 reporter.
"Right now, the focus is going to be on completing her pregnancy, dealing with her health issues and staying home," said Hammerschmidt. "So I think she's mainly going to be at home and she's not going to be working.
Martzen is due back in court in late July.
Her trial most likely won't happen until early next year, months after her child is born.
murder, reedley, local, corin hoggard
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