Jennifer Marteliz' disappearance on Nov. 15, 1982, marked the beginning of a search that would eclipse all others in Tampa's history. LONG BEFORE "AMBER ALERTS" DNA Technology, PUBLIC CAMERA'S and SOCIAL MEDIA, this precious little girl appears to have JUST VANISHED.
SINCE SHE VANISHED, there has been several articles written,she was placed on milk cartons, a book written, and a Movie made called "IT COULD BE YOU."
TONIGHT ON OUR SHOW, we will bring the whole story to our audience, about the little girl that vanished without a trace. Jennifer's sister TONI LISIA JOINS US LIVE.
The 7-year-old's smiling face beamed from TV screens, billboards, fliers, and milk cartons, becoming as familiar to residents as their own children's. The granddaughter of a wealthy, politically connected businessman, Jennifer would become the focus of an increasingly frenzied investigation spanning more than a decade.
Hundreds helped: from neighbors to psychics to Interpol's international police force. Each hoped, some even believed, he or she would find Jennifer. Little girls, after all, don't simply vanish.
That Monday afternoon in 1982, Jennifer walked home with her friend Theresa Hall. They usually left school between 2:15 and 2:30 p.m., but on this day it may have been as late as 2:40 p.m.
Theresa lived in an apartment on 97th Avenue, just south of the Marteliz duplex that hugged the railroad tracks. The girls walked down 15th Street to 98th, where they parted as usual. Theresa didn't often go to Jennifer's to play after school because her friend's stepmother was so strict.