Fayette County search for missing Tampa girl called off
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Pennsylvania State Police have suspended their search in Fayette County for the body of 7-year-old Jennifer Marteliz, who disappeared from her Florida home 30 years ago.
Dozens of state troopers and forensic anthropologists have been searching a wooded area off Gilchrest Road in North Union for several days without success.
State police Trooper Joseph Christy said investigators have called off further searches. They will talk to detectives in Tampa, where the girl disappeared in 1982, to decide what to do next, he said.
Andrea Davis, spokeswoman for the Tampa Police Department, said police have not ruled out searching the site at a later date but planned to pursue the lead through other investigative measures.
Ms. Davis said Jennifer was walking home at around 3 p.m. with a friend on November 15, 1982. The friend told police that she turned her back to Jennifer for a few moments as they were walking about a block from her home.
When she turned back, Jennifer was gone.
At the request of the case's lead detective, Ms. Davis declined to comment further on the most recent developments.
A woman named Anna Cummings sent a lengthy email to Tampa police several weeks ago that reopened the case.
A now-deceased neighbor, Steve Visnosky, lived on Rankin Airshaft Road near Gilchrest Road and also owned a home in Tampa. He was acting strangely near where the girl disappeared around the time she went missing, Ms. Cummings told police.
Ms. Cummings, who was about 10 at the time, told police she remembered watching one day in 1982 as Mr. Visnosky unloaded a large plastic bag from the trunk of the large, brown car he sometimes drove from Florida to Pennsylvania.
A similar car was reported to have been seen in the area where Jennifer was last spotted, according to a search warrant.
Ms. Cummings was on the scene Thursday as authorities attempted to jog her memory as to where they might find traces of the girl.
First Published July 6, 2012 2:36 pm