If you haven’t heard of Megan Martzen before, you’re about to enter a world of horrors. What would you say if we told you that a woman had admitted to killing a child, yet managed to walk away scot-free?
Martzen also goes by the names Megan Teso or Megan Roque, and it’s those names you can use to find her today, running her own makeup business. She was babysitting 17-month-old Ella VanLeeuwen back in 2009 when the toddler died. Megan was in jail for that offense for 52 days, whilst pregnant herself, until she managed to bail herself out.
During her trial, enough concern was raised about some prior injuries on the toddler that the jurors could not see past the reasonable doubt. A hung jury resulted in a mistrial. As a result, Megan ended up taking a plea deal rather than going through another trial. She plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was on probation for three years, which are of course now already over.
At first, her newborn son was taken away, but she fought for custody and eventually got him back. She says that she only took the plea deal because she didn’t have the money or the emotional strength to fight in court again. No matter what excuse she may use, she admitted that the toddler died in her care and didn’t need to.
She has since raised controversy again by crashing her car and being arrested for a DUI, and certainly has not kept a low public profile. Here are 15 photographs of Megan that will send a chill down your spine now that you’re up to date with her backstory.
15. Megan Smiling With Her Son
When you think that one family out there doesn’t have their daughter anymore, it feels like a real tragedy that Megan still has her son. She’s getting on with her life and moving on, and seems to be as happy as Larry in this photograph. She stands smiling beside her child, Maverick, who has grown so far past the age at which Ella lost her life. Ella died after falling out of bed, and any parent who has ever left their child with a babysitter would rightfully be horrified at that idea. Why wasn’t Ella placed in a secure bed where she couldn’t simply roll off the side? Why was she left unattended, without Megan watching over her, considering that she wasn’t in a safe location? As a 19-year-old expecting her own child, Megan should have known better about child safety when this happened. That’s poor consolation for the grieving family of the dead toddler.
14. Turning A Car Upside Down
This photograph shows the car that Megan allegedly crashed recently in her hometown. Local residents used their phones to take pictures of the SUV, which landed upside down once the aftermath of the crash had settled. She was apparently driving under the influence and was arrested on those charges. She is now awaiting her time in court for this new offense. She apparently made no fuss with the police and calmly admitted that she had been driving, so it looks like things may not go her way in court – there’s no way that she can try to deny this one. Police were called to the scene immediately after the accident and found that Megan was not harmed. There are no reports of others being harmed in the crash either. Even if she does not receive any punishment for this crash – she is no longer on probation, after all – it will certainly dent her reputation in the local community even further.
13. Without A Care In The World
This image of Megan was taken sometime around the tragedy which claimed Ella’s life. It’s clear to see that she was a girl who was mostly occupied with her looks, and that she spent a lot of time trying to look good. This lack of care for others could be exactly the kind of thing that led to Ella’s death, at least if we accept what Megan has always claimed happened. She says that she was looking at something on her laptop and spending all of her attention on that when she shifted around on the bed. This was the same bed that Ella was also on, and when Megan moved, Ella fell. Some doctors were not happy with this version of events, stating that the injuries to Ella simply weren’t consistent with a fall from a bed. Instead, they believed that the injuries could only have been caused if Ella was hit at least three times with a blunt object, and perhaps also with a fist to the stomach.
12. The Difference In Her Mug Shot
Megan always presents herself flawlessly. Like a Kardashian, she won’t be seen anywhere without perfect makeup and artfully styled hair, her brows pencilled on and her lips filled. In her photographs from court, she’s a beautiful young woman who always looks on the verge of bursting into tears. In the booking shot that was taken on the night of her arrest, however, it’s a different story. She has dark rings under her eyes, flaws over her skin, and her hair looks cut short – of course, she probably wears extensions normally. She also has a stronger gaze, as if she is not quite yet getting into the act. Is it possible that the jury were swayed in her first trial by her appearance as a beautiful and remorseful woman? Would they have reached a hung verdict if they had seen her as she was on the day that she was arrested, or would they have been able to come to a decision?
11. Caught On CCTV
This image shows Megan Martzen during her trial, when she was trying to get acquitted. Though that trial eventually went nowhere, she did eventually face a small consequence. She was given three years of probation, which it appears she managed to pass without incident. She was also ordered to do 250 hours of community service, pay some fines, and make some other forms of restitution. The parents of Ella VanLeeuwen have spoken out and said that they have forgiven Megan and her family, though they also acknowledge that the case has driven some deep rifts within the community. There are those who believe in and support Megan, those who believe that she should have gone to jail for murder, and those who believe something more sinister. They suggest that injuries on Ella’s body made in the 48 hours before her death – when Megan was not around – could have added up to death when added to a short fall.
10. Free Lipsticks For A Convicted Killer
Megan is running her own business as a makeup artist these days, helping women to look beautiful on their wedding days and special occasions. There’s no word on whether she struggles to keep her business going thanks to her reputation, but if you believe her social media profiles, it seems to be thriving. This image was posted to her personal Twitter account, and looks innocent enough. The caption she added, however, states “Yes!!!! Free lipsticks!”. It seems that some makeup company somewhere has decided that she’s worthy of a gift of free cosmetics to use in her business. Trading on someone’s name because of the death of a child is really sickening. She also reposted the same photograph on Twitter with a comment about how great the lipsticks were and how much she liked the brand: “These seriously are the creamiest & comfortable wearing lipsticks! sooo pigmented!!! #myartistrouge #getyourboldon”
9. Dressing Her Own Son Up In A Skull Costume
Of all the costumes she could possibly have chosen for Maverick, this one is perhaps the worst taste. Megan apparently didn’t see anything wrong with the idea of putting makeup on her son’s face to make him resemble a skull. He’s supposed to be a dread pirate, but the imagery hits far too close to home. It’s almost as if she is making a mockery out of the fact that a child died under her care. You might expect someone to take a little more care about the way they present themselves to the world when they know people are watching. Although she no longer uses her real name on social media, the Teso and Roque names are also already well-known and publicised through the media. She has to have known that people would see this post. It seems like she isn’t too bothered about showing remorse now that the days of her trial are over.
8. Putting Makeup On A Little Girl
If you knew that someone had admitted to allowing a child within their care to die, would you allow them to go anywhere near your own daughter? The answer for most people would be no, and it’s a perfectly reasonable one. Instead, this particular mother decided that she was going to let Megan go right ahead and give her daughter a makeover. The child is obviously at a very young age and many would argue that she would be too young to be wearing makeup anyway. It seems crazy that anyone would ever let Megan near a young child again – even if they were related to her. Courts took a lot of convincing when it came to her own son, at first only granting custody to Scott Martzen, and then granting Megan 48 hours of access a week. If the courts are squeamish about letting her have contact with her own child, it’s a sign that others should think twice about trusting her too.
7. Admitting To Her Plea Deal
Whenever Megan no longer needs to garner sympathy, it seems like her appearance really changes. Here she is pictured on the day that she answered a press conference and admitted that she was taking the plea deal. She has a really guilty look on her face, reminiscent of a schoolchild who just wants to get it over with and get out of the principal’s office. It’s hard not to look at her and feel like she is trying to garner sympathy. It also makes a lot of sense that, after being captured here for everyone around the world to see, she would want to change her appearance and transform into someone different. That’s perhaps why she now wears her hair long all of the time and has even gone through different styles of dye and streaks since then, as well as dressing differently. You can see this in evidence in the selfies that she posts regularly.
6. Becoming A Beauty Guru
Here’s another smiling photograph of Megan Martzen with her perfect makeup and hair. Why should this one chill you to the core? Because it’s actually the profile image from her YouTube channel. This is an account on which she shares all of her tips for getting makeup right, in line with her business as a makeup artist. Incidentally, anyone who wanted to look at the rest of her photographs could definitely start with this channel, which is named “Makeup by Megan Danielle” – another pseudonym she uses to avoid using her real name. The ‘about’ section lists all of her other social profiles, so you can find her easily. She is already accruing something of a following, with regular viewers who are keen to check out her latest video tutorials and reviews. She may only have 280 subscribers at the moment, but that’s 280 more than most convicted child killers.
5. Wearing The Cross
As a religious symbol, the cross can be associated with leading a life in line with the teachings of Christianity. It can also be a symbol of forgiveness, as the sins of believers are washed away by Jesus’ sacrifice. Megan certainly seems to think that her sins have been washed away, as a shot of wearing these earrings on her official Facebook page was accompanied by a message about the makeup lessons she had on offer for her clients to book. Those who witnessed her first trial suggested that both sides of the case were full of holes, an issue which may have allowed her to escape punishment. Prosecutor Jeff Duprase believed strongly that the injuries found on Ella showed a continuous assault, not one incident, and that the fall from the bed story was totally made up. There was also some confusion about a fall from a booster seat the day before, which Megan initially told the child’s mother and then denied later.
4. Another Sign Of Her Success
It just seems that Megan Martzen does nothing all day but put out videos and selfies of her flawless makeup. Looking at her social media profiles and her posts, you would never think that she was involved in the death of a child in any way. Even after becoming a mother herself, she doesn’t seem to want to think about the past. She doesn’t commemorate Ella or speak of sadness at her loss. One thing that has always seemed odd about the case was Megan’s actions directly after Ella was injured. She called her own mother-in-law first, and then called the mother of Ella, Danielle. She only then placed a call to paramedics, despite the fact that she herself says that Ella was unresponsive and barely breathing. If the child was so obviously injured, why not call the paramedics first and then notify others later? It’s an odd choice to make.
3. The Not-So-Cunning Stalker
This one will give you chills, but from the other side. It’s hard not to have sympathy for Megan when you see an image like this. She screenshotted some conversations and shared them on her social media page, naming and shaming the sender. She made comments about having received this kind of communication before as well. The other person contacted her on the pretence of making an appointment for wedding makeup, although the story quickly crumbled as they could not come up with believable details. It seems that some people occasionally try to find her home address, perhaps to pay her a visit and dole out their own vigilante justice. It’s important to remember that Megan has served her time in the eyes of the law, and no one should be trying to intimidate her or threaten her in any way. That’s just a very quick and easy way to get yourself in trouble instead.
2. Mother’s Day Snap
On Mother’s Day, Megan posted this old photograph which shows herself as a newborn baby with her mother in hospital. The message accompanying the image was praising her mother for being a strong woman who gives her all for her family. Megan’s mother has had to stick by her through more than most parents ever do, so Megan really does have a reason to be grateful.
She says, “Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who stops everything she’s doing because one of her kids needs her then doesn’t sleep in order to get everything she needs to get done. To the woman who loves unconditionally… The woman who is stronger then any man I know. To the woman who let me fail at times to show me how to overcome obstacles. And to the woman taught me how to be a momma I am today! Thank you mom for all the you are and all that you continuously do! I love you with all my heart!”
1. Smiling In The Sun With Her Child
Knowing that the life of one child was lost under her care, it’s hard to see Megan smiling and happy with her son. He’s clearly too young to know or understand anything about what happened to Ella. When the toddler died, he had not even been born yet. Whether it’s fair for Megan to be with him or not is a complicated question. After all, no one would argue that it’s better for a young boy to be denied access to his mother, especially as she has not been shown to endanger him in any way. Then again, it was her action – described in court as “a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner and without due caution and circumspection” – that took another child away from her family forever. Those who believe Megan say that the case was a triple tragedy: the death of a girl, the VanLeeuwen family losing a child, and the false accusation of Megan as a murderer.
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