Missing Child's Family's Hopes Raised, Then Dashed

Many families of missing children still hope like Jaycee Dugard

Jennifer Martin vanished at age 11

RENO, NV - The known facts in Jennifer Martin's disappearance have remained unchanged for 24 years.

She left her home in a Lemmon Valley mobile home park, walked a short distance to a convenience store, bought a soda, left the store and simply disappeared.

No witnesses ever came forward to provide leads. The trail quickly went cold. Her family, like those of other missing children, waited still clinging to hope.

"I think she's sitll alive," said her mother Elizabeth Martin in 1992. "I have to think that."

In fact, there was a moment, during those long years when it seemed that might be true and their story might have an ending like Jaycee Dugard's.

That hope came in a report of a young woman in a Phoenix group home for runaways who matched Jennifer's description.

The possibility was intriguing enough that the family was encouraged to make the trip and they did so with considerable anticipation.

"We were still pretty raw then," remembers Jennifer's sister Colleen. "Any little inkling of hope made your emotions like a roller coaster.

The trip ended in disappointment.

"As soon as she walked in we knew it wasn't her," remembers Martin. "And her mother and I went out to the car and were just sobbing. It was awful."

The disappointment Colleen says, was devastating. A short time later, she admits, she attempted suicide. Still today, she still waits for a call that may never come.

"I have the same phone number I had when she disappeared," she says.

In case Jennifer calls?

"Yeah."


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