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Suspects wanted in infant’s death released on signature bonds, court records show

The Madison Police Dept. is searching for Arkeem Ashley, 26, and Esthefania Martinez, 22
The Madison Police Dept. is searching for Arkeem Ashley, 26, and Esthefania Martinez, 22(Madison Police Dept.)
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 2:48 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:07 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The man accused of killing his infant son and the child’s mother, who is accused of child neglect, were both allowed to walk out of a Dane Co. jail on a $500 signature bond.

By being a signature bond, both Arkeem Ashley and Esthefania Martinez, only needed to sign that they would pay $500 if they failed to return to court – which they ended up not doing. They would not have needed to pay anything at that time.

Now, they have disappeared, and the Madison Police Department is asking for help tracking them down.

Court records indicate Ashley, 26, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of his son seven months earlier. He appeared in court on Dec. 28 when he pleaded not guilty to the charge and the $500 signature bond was imposed.

The 26-year-old Martinez, who is charged with child neglect that resulted in bodily harm, was in court for her initial hearing that same day. After entering a not guilty plea, like Ashley, she too was given a $500 signature bond. Their preliminary hearings were both set for Feb. 11. They both signed their signature bonds on Jan. 4, 2021, a week after that first court appearance.

Terms of both Ashley and Martinez’s bonds include that they had to report to the Dane Co. Jail to complete any booking process back in 2020, as well as that they are not allowed to have contact with any minors unless supervised by an adult.

According to the Dane Co. Sheriff’s Office, they were booked and released from the jail that day and the agency did not have a record of a bond having been paid. NBC15 News has reached out to the Dane Co. District Attorney’s Office about the bail amount and have not received a response.

Ashley and Martinez appeared by video for their February court dates, at which time they waived their preliminary hearing. In May, the status conferences for each of them was set for early June. It was that June 3 hearing that neither suspect appeared and bench warrants issued. Court records show their cases have been in limbo ever since them, with the exception of Martinez’ lawyer, David Karpe, asking the court to withdraw from representing his client.

In March 2022, another arrest warrant was issued for Ashley, this time accusing him of repeated sexual assault of a child.

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