10 years for Yakima mother who starved daughters

    YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Yakima mother Kai Martinez was accused of starving and abusing her young twin daughters. This was after they had been taken away from her right after birth, only to be returned by a court order just a year ago. Martinez was in court Wednesday for her sentencing where she apologized for her actions.

    "As a mother, I was entrusted to be loving, caring and nurturing unconditionally," Martinez said. "And to be frank, I failed miserably by doing the exact opposite."

    Martinez apologized and admitted doing the unthinkable to her 8-year-old twin daughters. The girls told police they didn't see the light of day, didn't shower and couldn't remember their last meal.

    "She described how her mother would essentially suffocate them with a pillow," said Det. Chad Janis with the Yakima Police Department.

    "She described being flown around by her hair," said YPD Det. Curtis Oja.

    "There was skin and there was bone and there was hair and there were scars," said one of the twin's family members.

    Martinez's daughters were in foster care for the majority of their lives, but were placed back into Martinez's home by a tribal court in 2013. Martinez says she didn't want the girls and was guilted into taking them back. She then spent almost half a year neglecting, starving and abusing them.

    "I pray that they are resilient as children usually are and that they won't live in fear or be insecure indefinitely because of the trauma they've endured," said Martinez.

    Martinez's defense attorney asked the court for a drug offender sentence, which would shave off about five years in prison. But, the Yakima Court Superior judge agreed with the prosecution and said Martinez had many chances to get help and that resources were around her.

    "This was a horrendous situation these two young girls easily and probably, but through the grace of God, would've died," said Hon. Ruth Reukauf for the Yakima County Superior Court.

    The judge sentenced Martinez to the maximum range for her charges of child assault and criminal mistreatment, which is ten years in prison.

    Family members in court Wednesday said the girls are doing well and getting healthy. And, that they're in the process of going back to their former foster home.

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