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Neighbors remember disappearance of Jennifer Marteliz, as authorities search for possible remains nearly 30 years later

10:59 PM, Jul 5, 2012   |    comments
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7-year-old Jennifer Marteliz disappeared while walking home from school in Tampa in 1982.



Tampa, Florida-- As authorities in Pennsylvania search for the possible remains of Jennifer Marteliz, some neighbors who live near where she disappeared almost 30 years ago, still remember when she went missing.

"It was quite scary. A little seven-year-old..." said Ronnie Crowder, who has lived off 109th Avenue for more than 40 years.

Jennifer was last seen walking along 15th Street at 109th Avenue on her way home from school, November 15, 1982.

Her disappearance sparked a massive manhunt and for some parents in the neighborhood, made them think twice about their children's safety.

"Maybe a little more cautious, yes. Keep an eye on them at all times. Not letting them go out by themselves," said Crowder.

Thursday authorities in Uniontown, Pennsylvania started searching for her possible remains. 

It all started after a woman called Tampa Police and told them she used to live there and saw something strange when she was 10-years-old. 

Her neighbor at the time, Steve Visnosky, also had a home in Tampa and would drive back and forth. She said she watched Visnosky around the time Jennifer disappeared remove a plastic bag from his trunk and bury it in a hole behind his home.

The house Visnosky owned in Tampa is located along the 900-block of Castle Court. It's just blocks away from where Jennifer disappeared. 

The current homeowner said detectives came by about two-weeks-ago and checked out the property.

A neighbor, who doesn't want to be identified, said she knew Visnosky and his wife since 1977.

"He was a good neighbor. He would mow my lawn for me. He was a person who was kind, considerate, helpful, sensitive," she said.

That neighbor doesn't believe Visnosky had anything to do with Jennifer's disappearance. Visnosky died in 1992.

Authorities in Uniontown do plan to resume the search again Friday.

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