twitter Brittany Walker-Martie
An Arizona man is accused of purposely driving into his son's mother, killing her, in an attempt to abduct their baby.
On Tuesday night, Brittany Martie, 30, died after trying to stop her 10-month-old son's noncustodial father from allegedly abducting their son.
Martie had been thrown from a minivan that had her 10-month-old son, Abel Maes, inside. It was allegedly being driven by the baby's father, Eric Maes, as it sped off.
Police issued an AMBER Alert for Abel, who was found "in good health" early Wednesday morning after officers received a report of an abandoned child 11 miles away from where he'd been taken, according to Peoria Police.
An alert for Martie's car, a 2010 Chrysler Town and Country minivan, was also sent out. The vehicle was found abandoned at a location just four miles away from Abel.
Maes was eventually located and taken into custody after a short foot chase with police. He was initially charged with manslaughter, but now faces charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping, Peoria police announced Thursday.
According to court documents obtained by the Arizona Republic, the charges were upgraded after Maes allegedly told police he had intentionally driven his car into Martie.
Maes also allegedly admitting to knowing Martie would be picking Abel up from relatives who were babysitting the boy on Tuesday and waiting for her to arrive so he could jump in her car and take the child.
Additional Charges in Homicide/Kidnapping Case
New charges for Maes are:
Frist Degree Murder
Theft of Means of Transportation
Thanks to our community @PhoenixPolice @Arizona_DPS @FBIPhoenix@silentwitnessAZ & AZ CART for their help pic.twitter.com/qU0PvTzUQF
— Peoria Police (AZ) (@PeoriaPoliceAZ) February 11, 2021
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
Speaking to the Republic, Martie's longtime friend, Melanie Cowan, said the 30-year-old was goofy, caring and strong.
"She was this sweet, tiny, cute little thing, but she had strength like five times that," Cowan told the paper. Cowan recalled meeting Maes while the pair dated.
"I only met him one time and I knew at that moment I did not like him," she said, revealing that Maes had allegedly been controlling and sometimes violent, which police noted in the documents obtained by the Republic.
"It was hard to talk to her the last few months because of Eric, and I know that he cut her off from everybody and I never knew if it was her I was talking to or it was going to be him," Cowan said, according to the Republic.
Most recently, Cowan said Martie had taken steps to care for herself and her son, including starting a new job and finding a new safe place to live. But in the end, that love and dedication for her son would also lead to her death.
"The raw strength she had for that baby — I wouldn't expect anything else from her," Cowan told the Republic. "She went down fighting and that's not surprising."
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.