Missing Tulsa Woman And Children Located In South Dakota

Wednesday, August 18th 2010, 3:02 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, The News On 6 and NewsOn6.com

UNDATED -- A Tulsa mother of five children, who's been missing for 10 days, was found alive in Interior, South Dakota, Wednesday.

8/17/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Police Search For 'Missing And Endangered' Mother Of 5

But her family and even police aren't convinced she left Oklahoma of her own free will.

Monya Battiest ran off with Ambrose Martinez when she was just 14-years-old and he was 20. They've been together the past 10 years and have five children together.

Battiest, 24, had been last seen August 6 and was considered missing and endangered. In late July, she filed a report of first degree rape and domestic assault and battery in the presence of minor children against Martinez. Battiest also petitioned for a protective order against Martinez on July 6.

Her mother says the relationship has been one big cycle of abuse.

Monya looks like a happy, healthy young woman and mother. Her children range in age from seven- years-old to eight-months. But, her family says Monya has been abused off and on for the past decade by her boyfriend, Ambrose Martinez.

The cycle of abuse shows how tension builds in a relationship until an incident of abuse happens, then the abuser apologizes and makes promises which leads to a honeymoon period where everything is fine, until the tension builds again and the cycle repeats itself.

Monya's mom says she's seen that cycle with Monya and Ambrose.

"There were sometimes I thought he was good," Miranda Harjo, Monya's mother, said. "He went to church and would tell me he's trying to change his life."

But on July 5th, 2010, Monya says Ambrose beat her with a chair leg, cut her with scissors, tried to strangle her with a belt, kicked her and then raped her. Police went to the scene and found blood on the walls, the floor and in a sink. Monya needed stitches and was black and blue.

"It was very bad. She could barely see," Harjo said. "Her whole face was swollen, she had bruises all over her body; he severely beat her."

Monya filed a protective order and then moved in with her mother. Prosecutors filed rape and assault charges and a warrant was issued for Martinez. Then, Monya and the kids disappeared.

"All the clean clothes hanging up, a bag of diapers still on the table, still there. If she was going to leave, she would pack up," Harjo said.

Police issued bulletins in South Dakota where Martinez has family members. Law enforcement found Monya and the kids at his father's place.

She told them she was safe, so police here can do nothing. Police say they asked Battiest why she had not responded to family members who were searching for her. She reportedly said her cell phone was not working, and she did not realize they were trying to get in touch with her.

Tulsa police made sure the officers in South Dakota knew Martinez has a warrant for his arrest and Oklahoma would extradite if they arrest.

Domestic violence experts see similar cases all the time and say there are many reasons it's so difficult for victims to get leave their abusers.

Read report of abuse | Read protective order