Dead boy’s father accused

Zander Martino was left for dead.

Authorities allege the toddler’s father beat him — possibly with a hammer — and left the 33-month-old in bed at the family’s downtown Las Vegas home. Zander’s parents waited at least eight hours before calling for help, police said.

By the time paramedics arrived on the morning of July 10, Zander was dead. He had severe bruising on his abdomen and “a belly full of blood,” according to a Las Vegas police report.

The Clark County Department of Family Services had investigated Zander’s parents for possible abuse or neglect several times starting in December 2004.

When a child protective services worker interviewed 3-year-old Hailey Martino after Zander’s death, Hailey said, “Dad hit Zander with a hammer last night,” the report noted.

Hailey said her father put the hammer in the backyard, according to police, who found it.

The coroner’s office ruled Zander’s death a homicide Wednesday, and police arrested his father, 25-year-old Richard “Todd” Martino, and Martino’s 22-year-old girlfriend, Brandi Reeves, also known as Brandi Byrd. Authorities booked them into the county jail on charges of murder by child abuse.

Martino and Reeves told police they weren’t responsible for Zander’s death.

Martino said he returned home from his job at Hansen Mechanical about noon on July 9. He later left for a doctor’s appointment but returned about 3 p.m. Zander and his three siblings, ages 3, 1 and about 1 month old, were there when Martino got home.

Martino told police that after dinner, about 7 p.m., he threw Zander onto a bed about three or four times.

“Stop, Daddy, stop,” Zander told Martino, according to the police report.

Martino told police he then went to bed and that Reeves checked on Zander about 2 a.m. because she heard him horsing around. Martino said Reeves later told him Zander had fallen out of bed.

Martino later left for work but said he called home about 8 a.m. to have Reeves check on Zander. Reeves found Zander in bed and not breathing, so she called 911.

“He’s cold,” she told a 911 operator. “He’s dead weight right now.”

The operator told Reeves to give Zander CPR. But Reeves said she needed to attend to her crying newborn and walked away from the phone, according to the police report.

When Reeves returned, the 911 dispatcher told her to begin CPR “as soon as possible,” which Reeves did until paramedics arrived.

Zander is one of 19 children who died in 2007 whose families had some history with child protective services, according to state records.

Zander’s death was preceded by the “suspicious” July 5 death of a 6-month-old infant in Boulder City, Alyssa Jenks, Boulder City police Deputy Chief John Chase said. The state reported that Alyssa died from head injuries “inflicted by another person.”

The child welfare agency reported that Alyssa was left in the care of a relative while her parents were running errands. Her mother returned home and found her unconscious.

Boulder City police are investigating Alyssa’s death but haven’t arrested anyone, Chase said.

As in Zander’s case, the Department of Family Services had investigated Alyssa’s family for suspected abuse or neglect.

Of the 19 children who died in Southern Nevada whose families had contact with child protective services, only Zander and Alyssa appeared to have died as a result of abuse, according to state records. The other deaths were from natural causes or as a result of accidents, the records state.

Whether some of the deaths may have been the result of neglect is unclear.

In one incident, 5-year-old Amir Grace Green died in an accidental house fire on Feb. 9. At the time, family services officials were providing support and protective services, the state reported.

In another case, 3-month-old Hayden Meyer drowned May 3 at her home. Child protective services had investigated the family four times for abuse or neglect and found three complaints to be unfounded, the state reported.

The fourth accusation was under investigation at the time of Hayden’s death.

Police are not investigating either death, because they were ruled accidental.

William Grimm, senior attorney with the Oakland-based nonprofit National Center for Youth Law, said the recent deaths show the county’s child welfare system is still mired in problems under its new director, Thomas Morton, who was put in charge in July 2006.

“It doesn’t seem to have improved, even though the head of the agency has changed and more resources have been put into it,” Grimm said.

Last year, the National Center for Youth Law filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the county on behalf of abused and neglected children.

Critics say Zander’s case is a prime example of how failures of the child welfare system can have deadly consequences.

Child protective services pulled Zander and his siblings from the family’s home in December 2004 after Zander’s mother abused him, authorities said. He and his siblings were returned to their father’s custody in April.

Two weeks before he died, Zander and his siblings had been back in protective custody while the county investigated an injury to Zander.

Family Court Hearing Master Frank Sullivan returned the children to Martino’s custody June 28, at the recommendation of county workers, because the injuries didn’t appear to be caused by abuse, officials said.

Morton defended the county’s decisions. He said the children were initially returned to the father in April, because their mother was the first abuser of Zander. The court returned Zander to his father last month because the household was deemed safe, Morton said.

UNLV Surgeon Performs Successful Rare Pancreas Surgery
Las Vegas resident Mary Duda underwent a pancreatoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, for her pancreatic cancer. While the grandmother of 19 recovered, her doctors say she's one of the lucky ones. Pancreatic surgery can be risky and has a high morbidity rate. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Las Vegas police explorer sentenced to 25 years to life in prison
Former Las Vegas police explorer Joshua Honea sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for sexual assault of a minor, but was allowed to remain free on bail pending appeal. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Fans Line Up to Grab Their Conference Champions Gear
Golden Knights fans lined up at City National Arena Monday to snap up Conference Champions gear and other memorabilia the day after the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup Conference Finals. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas-Review Journal)
Las Vegas shooting survivor has surprise reunion
Oct. 1 mass shooting survivors Taylor Stovall and Parker Gabel meet for the first time since Gabel helped the injured Stovall to an ambulance the night of the shooting. Stovall, then 17, was shot in the arm. They met Friday at the Tropicana.
Hawaii volcano presser
Talmadge Magno of Hawaii Civil Defense gives an update on the Kilauea volcano
Same-Sex Weddings on the Rise in Las Vegas
Allie and Tara Shima finally tied the knot. They've been together for five years and have both been married before. This time, they wanted something simple, quick and cheap, but it still had to feel special. The couple chose Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center begins building in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin kicked off the demolition of buildings where the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center will be built. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
"Yanny" or "Laurel" hearing test has gone viral
'Yanny' or 'Laurel?' This Hearing Test Has Gone Viral This hearing test has gone viral on social media with some hearing "Yanny" while others swear hearing "Laurel." The voice is actually saying "Laurel," but the pitch was changed, causing some to hear "Yanny."
LVMPD Briefs on Year's Sixth Officer-Involved Shooting
Las Vegas police have identified the officer who shot a shovel-wielding woman on Saturday as 23-year-old Ondre Wills.
Police release body camera footage of shovel-wielding woman
Las Vegas police identified the woman they said threatened neighbors with a skillet Saturday night. Officer Ondre Wills, 23, shot at Sommer Richards, 34, multiple times on Big Sur Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. Police responded to the area after receiving reports that the woman was armed with a shovel. Police said the woman chased neighbors and a security guard. Wills got between Richards and the others and repeatedly told her to drop the shovel. The woman instead turned and moved toward a person who was standing nearby before the officer fired shots. Police said she bit another officer as he attempted to render aid. Richards remains in serious but stable condition.
College of Southern Nevada Graduates 2017-18 Class
The College of Southern Nevada's graduation ceremony was held at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday. The 2017-18 class was the institution's largest in history. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro looking for suspect in bank robbery.
On Jan. 22, a man robbed a bank in the 8700 block of West Sahara Avenue.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee at opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at opening ceremony of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, speaks about the violence in Gaza. (Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada
The Supreme Court has overturned a federal ban on sports gambling. States other than Nevada will be allowed to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and race tracks. Justice Samuel Alito said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “each State is free to act on its own.” The vote was 6-3. One research firm estimates that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years.
Westcare Clinic Crucial to Las Vegan's Addiction Recovery
Christian Hunt, 21, was sent to Westcare in September after he ended up on drugs and in the hospital. If it weren't for the nonprofit's Community Triage Center, Hunt said he would still be using drugs. Instead, he's been sober for six months, and stopped using methamphetamines seven months ago. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foundation Provides Full Rides for Clark County Students
Somewhere along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, a group of students from Sin City are pursuing a higher education. Feature on the 38 Clark County students that the Rogers Foundation has given full rides to for Kentucky Wesleyan College. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Flames engulf house in Henderson
Clark County firefighters battled a house fire early Friday morning in Henderson. The house, located near Volunteer Boulevard and Executive Airport Drive, was fully engulfed in flames about 2 a.m. Shifting winds sent massive plumes of smoke across the southern Las Vegas Valley sky. As of 3 a.m. , the cause of the fire was not known and no injuries were reported.
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time Georgina Chapman was profiled for 'Vogue’s' June issue, speaking on her estranged husband for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in October. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, also said she has been seeing a therapist and that has helped her move forward. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Read the full profile on Chapman in Vogue’s June issue or online at
Bark-Andre Furry the dog is a Vegas Golden Knights hockey fan
The furriest fan of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights is growing into a social media sensation. Bark-Andre Furry the Jack Russell terrier has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect Sought In Robbery Attempt
Attorney Gloria Allred on case against Benjamin Sparks
Attorney Gloria Allred is representing the victim in a "sex slave" case against GOP political consultant Benjamin Sparks.
2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards winners
Some winners of the 2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards receive their awards.
Weather Balloon Collects Key Data
Meteorologist Chelsea Kryston discusses the Las Vegas National Weather Service's balloon carrying a radiosonde that collects temperature, humidity and pressure readings.
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark And it will have done so faster than any other film in history. The Anthony and Joe Russo directed film has only been in theaters for eight days since its Apr. 27 release, and it’s already raked in $905.1 million at the worldwide box office, including $338.4 million in North America. It will reach the milestone faster than ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ which took 12 days to cross over the $1 billion threshold. ‘Infinity War’ is the 34th film to cross $1 billion at the global box office, not accounting for inflation.
Henderson Residents Fighting Their HOA
Sun City Anthem residents Tim Stebbins and Bob Frank were arrested by the Henderson Police Department for filing a false report of a crime after they claimed their HOA was hiding surplus assessments in a secret slush fund. Nearly a decade later, Frank is still trying to clear his name. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Professor Retiring After 50 Years
Professor Bernard Malamud reflects on his 50 years teaching economics at UNLV and what it's been like watching to school and the city grow.
Donald Trump recognizes Jon Ponder of Hope for Prisoners
Former bank robber Jon Ponder, now CEO of Hope for Prisoners, is recognized by President Donald Trump at the White House Rose Garden. Debra J. Saunders/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Motorcyclist suffers severe head injury
A crash early Friday morning has left a motorcyclist hospitalized with a serious head injury, according to Las Vegas police. The crash occurred in the southwest valley at Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway, and was reported around 1:30 a.m. Police are investigating and one lane of the eastbound 215 offramp has been shut down.
Woman stabbed in the stomach
Las Vegas police are looking for the suspect who stabbed a woman in the stomach during a street robbery Friday morning in the central valley. The 37-year-old woman walked into the 7-Eleven at 531 E. Sahara Ave., around 1:30 a.m. with a wound to her abdomen, according to police. She was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive her wound. The stabber remains at-large.
Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize Eighteen House members sent a letter to the Nobel Committee in Norway, recommending President Donald Trump for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The letter was signed by Rep. Luke Messer and other GOP members, according to the New York Post. Letter to Nobel Committee This week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trump deserved the nomination, as well, for his efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons. Trump is set to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un soon.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like