Jennifer Lee Martin

1 2 AP
Left and Center: Jennifer, circa 1987;
Right: Age-progression to age 37 (circa 2013)


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: June 28, 1987 from Reno, Nevada
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: January 14, 1976
  • Age: 11 years old
  • Height and Weight: 4'6, 49 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Jennifer has facial freckles, two small hairline scars on the underside of her chin, and a star-shaped scar on the inside of her upper right arm. She has several white bumps on her back and a "coffee stain" type birthmark on her right hip. Her ears are pierced.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A grayish-purple sweatshirt dress, and no shoes.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Jennifer was last seen at approximately 3:00 p.m. in the Lemmon Valley area of Reno, Nevada on June 28, 1987. She bought candy and a soda a 7-11 convenience store on Lemmon Valley Drive and disappeared while walking away from the business towards her home on Surge Street, just a few hundred feet away. Jennifer should have arrived home in less than five minutes, but she never did. When twenty minutes passed and she hadn't come back, her older brother went to the 7-11 to look for her, and couldn't find her. She has never been heard from again.

    Authorities treated Jennifer's disappearance as a possible abduction from the onset of the investigation. She is described as an independent child who was capable of asserting herself around adults and wouldn't have willingly gone into a stranger's car. She had no history of running away from home. A white pickup truck seen in the area at the time was eventually accounted for, but witnesses also saw a light-colored Toyota Corolla that was never identified. It's unclear whether the vehicle had anything to do with her disappearance.

    A defrocked priest named Stephen Kiesle became a possible suspect in Jennifer's case in mid-2002. He has since been arrested and charged with molesting three girls at the Santa Paula Catholic Church in Fremont, where he worked from 1968 to 1971. Police searched his yard three times, using cadaver-sniffing dogs, radar, and a backhoe. They were looking not only for evidence in Jennifer's disappearance but also evidence in the disappearances of Amber Swartz-Garcia and Anthony Franko. Anthony had disappeared only a block from the same 7-11 Jennifer visited just before she vanished, but investigators haven't been able to find any other connection between the two cases. The only item police found in Kiesle's yard was a bag full of dirt and decomposed clothing. The searches concluded in July 2002.

    No strong suspects have ever been identified in Jennifer's disappearance; it remains unsolved.


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Washoe County Sheriff's Office



    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    Child Protection Education Of America
    Nation's Missing Children Organization
    California Attorney General's Office
    The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes by Michael Newton
    Child Quest International Inc.
    The Reno Gazette-Journal


    Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated June 28, 2015; details of disappearance updated.

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