Left and Center: Jennifer circa, 1982
Right: Age Progressed to age 38
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: November 15, 1982
Missing From: Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: June 8, 1975
Age: 7 years old
Height and Weight: 4’0″ and 60 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic Female, Black hair, Brown eyes, Jennifer has moles or beauty marks located on the upper portion of her chest, as well as the right side of her nose near her eye, and on her collar bone, Jennifer’s ears are pierced, Jennifer has a mole on the back of her right thigh, she has a cleft in her chin, Jennifer’s teeth are large, cooked, and chipped, Jennifer May use the nickname “Firecracker”, she walks pigeon toed and one of her shoulders is lower then the other one, Jennifer is of Cuban, Lebanese, and Italian descent
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A pink knee length dress with yellow flowers imprinted on it, maroon ballet shoes, heart shaped gold earrings, a hair comb with flowers and ribbons, peach colored polish and silver glitter on her fingernails
NCMEC Number: 601814
Details of Disappearance
Jennifer Marteliz was last seen in Tampa, Florida during the afternoon of November 15th 1982 at approximately 3:00 pm. She was approximately one block away from her family’s residence which was located on 15th Street and 109th Avenue, Jennifer asked a friend to watch her walk to her home, her friend turned away from her for a brief second and when she looked back, Jennifer had vanished.
Jennifer was never seen or heard from again. Authorities initially treated Jennifer’s family as possible suspects. Her parents were both divorced in 1982 and each side of her family accused one another for hiding the young girl. Eventually, the family was ruled out as being involved in her disappearance.
Authorities suspect that Marteliz was kidnapped and possibly murdered. Authorities named a man, Thomas Peter Welnicki, as a suspect in Jennifer’s case. He was a close family friend of Jennifer’s family. He has a prior, extensive criminal history. He’s committed drug possession, theft, and minor assault.
Welnicki was questioned about her disappearance. He told police that he had a “psychic vision” about Jennifer’s disappearance. He claimed that two men, one in his 40s and the other in his 20s, abducted and strangled Jennifer. He said the man in his 40s has an extensive criminal history and the one in his 20s was blond and was close to Jennifer and she trusted him. The blond mans conscience was apparently troubled after Jennifer’s murder.
Authorities believe that this vision was actually a confession to his involvement to Jennifer’s abduction and murder but Welnicki denies this. Welnicki actually matches the description of the blond man in the vision. He failed a polygraph in relation to her disappearance but this may have been due to the medicine he was taking to prevent seizures.
Another man, Steve Visnosky, has also been named as a possible suspect in Jennifer’s disappearance. He lived in the Tampa area at the time of her disappearance and owned a brown vehicle that was seen in the area when Jennifer was allegedly abducted.
One of his neighbors reported that she had seen Visnosky unloading a large plastic bag from his car after Jennifer’s disappearance in Pennsylvania. The brown vehicle he owned was one he used to drive from Pennsylvania to Florida. Authorities searched the wooded area around Visnosky’s house for Jennifer’s remains but could not find them. He has not been ruled out. Visnosky has long been a suspect in the case.
Jennifer’s abduction remains unsolved and she has never been located.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Tampa Police Department 813-273-0770