Originally posted on 07/05/05
Kansas City disappearance case is 1 year old
BY KEVIN MURPHY
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Posted on Tue, Jul. 05, 2005
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (KRT) - Every morning is the same for Tammy Navinskey - a couple of hours on the computer and phone in search of her teenage daughter, who disappeared one year ago Wednesday.
Ashley Renee Martinez was last seen at a St. Joseph public swimming pool. Ashley, 15 at the time, is believed to have left with a convicted felon, Christopher M. Hart, 33, police said.
Hart, arrested last September in Olympia, Wash., on a parole violation, is not talking about Ashley, said St. Joseph Police Sgt. Jill Voltmer.
Navinskey said she has given up on him cooperating.
"My best hope now is that someone will see her and come forward so we can bring her home," Navinskey said Tuesday.
To that end, Navinskey spends each morning contacting various organizations and their Web sites to get Ashley's picture and description circulated. She also is in frequent touch with police and the media.
"I try to have as much hope as I can because if I don't, it's hard to get through the day," Navinskey said. "I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a feeling in the back of my mind that she is (not) even alive. It's a fear I face every day. When it comes, I try to think hopeful thoughts."
Family and friends will hold a candlelight vigil for Ashley at 8 p.m. Wednesday in a parking lot of Krug Pool, 3541 St. Joseph Ave., where she was last seen a year ago. State and local officials and relatives of other missing persons will be among the guests.
A $5,000 reward for information was posted recently by the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation, a fund created by relatives of Carole and Juli Sund, who along with Silvina Pelosso disappeared in Yosemite National Park in 1999 and were found murdered.
Police have received numerous tips on Ashley's whereabouts, largely from the Kansas City and Olympia areas, Voltmer said.
"I don't know if that's because they are valid or because it's where the mass mailings are and the mass posting of the different posters," Voltmer said.
Police have no solid leads at the moment, she said. Voltmer tried to interview Hart at the Jackson County Jail about six weeks ago, but she said he would not talk about Ashley. Hart is currently confined to a state mental hospital, a jail spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Hart was arrested in Olympia last July 17 for a purse-snatching. He used an alias, was released, failed to appear in court and was then arrested again Sept. 7 for violating parole on a Missouri charge of second-degree assault, Voltmer said. He also has been convicted of unlawful use of a weapon, resisting arrest and property damage, she said.
While nobody reported seeing Hart leave the pool with Ashley, she borrowed a friend's cell phone to call him that day, Voltmer said. Hart is also known to have stopped by a house, where he told someone his car was packed and he was going to pick up Ashley, Voltmer said.
Police have never found the car, a gray 1995 Pontiac Bonneville, Missouri plates 377MPY, Voltmer said. They also have not heard from anyone who saw Ashley after she left the pool that day, she said.
"I would have thought she would have called someone, a friend or someone," Navinskey said. "Even if she thought this was some sort of adventure, I find it hard to believe she wouldn't have contacted someone."
A Web site devoted to Ashley's disappearance, ashley.4ourangel.com , refers to her as a "fun-loving young girl" who loved to swim. She is described as 5 feet, 3 inches tall, and 110 pounds with sandy blonde hair.
After her disappearance, investigators learned that she had mentioned to friends she was going to run away. She had been seeing Hart, who lived near her home and had promised he would take her to California one day, according to the Web site. She had a bipolar disorder, the site said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Voltmer at (816) 271-4747 or a TIPS hot line, (816) 238-TIPS.http://www.kansascity.com/