PHOENIX — The man accused of abducting his child and killing the baby’s mother during the kidnapping, which prompted a statewide AMBER Alert, is now facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder.
Peoria Police said they upgraded Eric Maes' charges from manslaughter after an interview following his Wednesday arrest, where he told detectives he intended to take the child and hurt Brittany Martie, the baby’s mother.
Maes is the father of 10-month-old Abel, but has no legal custody. Court records say Martie did not let him see the baby without supervision.
The AMBER Alert was canceled after the child was found abandoned in good health at a north Phoenix home around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
The ordeal began around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when Maes forcefully took the child from Martie as she was loading him in her Chrysler minivan in Peoria. Maes' family members in Peoria were caring for the baby boy at the time, police say.
Authorities said Maes got in the driver seat and took off with the baby inside. In an effort to stop the abduction, police say Martie jumped on top of the vehicle, but was later thrown off.
Court records stated that witnesses heard Martie scream, “Stop, stop, help, help,” as she held onto the minivan, trying to stop her child’s abduction.
One witness told police they “saw the vehicle driving erratically and saw a person’s leg sticking out of the driver’s window.”
During an interview with detectives, investigators said when Martie fell off the van, Maes turned around and saw her standing in the sidewalk. That’s when Maes allegedly “intentionally hit her with the van with the intent of hurting her.”
Martie was transported to HonorHealth Deer Valley Medical Center, where she died hours later.
Police say Maes admitted he got in an argument with Brittany and stated he knew when she would be home with their son and waited there “with the intent of taking the child”.
Maes told investigators Brittany “jumped out [of the minivan] while they were going 30 to 40 mph”. He told police he intended to hit her with the van, and after doing do, he drove off.
According to court documents, in a phone conversation with his mother, Maes “sound emotionless” when he recounted to her what he had done.
Hours after the baby was found, Police say Maes called a friend and arranged a meet up to hand Abel off at a gas station at 19th Avenue and Bell Road, and said if police showed up, “he would suicide by cop”.
Phoenix police searched the area and found the crashed minivan at a park near 19th Avenue and Cactus Road, with what they believed to be blood and possible hand and fingerprints on the hood.
Maes also told investigators he has used methamphetamine for two years and had smoked the drug on the day of the incident.
Aside from the first degree murder charge, Maes is charged with kidnapping, endangerment and auto theft.