Nearly 13 Years Ago, A 15-Year-Old Girl Disappeared After Taking Her Brother Swimming. She Was Never Heard From Again. Now Investigators Have Made An Announcement
On July 6, 2004, 15-year-old Ashley Renee Martinez was dropped off at a swimming pool in Missouri with her brother.
When her mother came to pick the pair up from the local pool a few hours later, only Ashley’s brother was standing out front.
After that day, Ashley was never seen again, and to this day her parents still have no idea what happened to her.
According to The Kansas City Star, Ashley’s mother, Tammy Mack, has never stopped searching for her daughter, even though her case hasn’t received as much attention as others.
Reports from around the time Ashley went missing revealed that Ashley was considered a runaway, especially since she had actually run away once before a few years earlier.
Before she went missing, Ashley, who was in the eighth grade at the time, had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
However, when she left she did not take her medication, nor did she grab her inhaler that she used to help with her asthma symptoms.
Shortly after Ashley disappeared, investigators learned that she had made plans to leave town with a 32-year-old man named Christopher Hart.
Although Hart was on parole for assault and weapons possession at the time, he and Ashley had reportedly planned on going to California together.
Just 11 days after Ashley vanished, Hart was arrested in Washington for stealing a purse, but because he gave authorities a false name, they did not know he was wanted in Missouri.
Hart was ultimately released, but he was later arrested again once police discovered his true identity.
According to reports, although Hart was once again sent to jail, he later began acting bizarrely and had to be given a psychiatric evaluation.
To this day, he has never said a word about Ashley or her disappearance.
Now, as the St. Joseph Post reports, police will be searching an area in town in connection to Ashley’s disappearance.
Capt. Jeff Wilson said the St. Joseph Police Department in connection with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children will be conducting “an operation” in regard to Ashley’s case.
Authorities say the search is based on historical information related to the case.
Wilson said authorities would start investigating the area of Huntoon and Highland around 6 a.m. on Tuesday. The search is expected to end by Wednesday afternoon.
On the 10th anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance, in 2014, Mack spoke of the pain of not knowing what happened to her daughter all those years ago.
She also planted a sugar maple tree across the street from the pool to honor Ashley’s memory.
“I chose the sugar maple because in the autumn its leaves turn red, and red is her favorite color,” Mack said at the time. “When I drive by I’ll see it.”
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