- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
In her opinion, she gathered strong supporting evidence that pointed to a viable suspect for the police. But even with what Kathy considered to be proof, the authorities refused to cooperate. The person she deemed responsible ...
In her opinion, she gathered strong supporting evidence that pointed to a viable suspect for the police. But even with what Kathy considered to be proof, the authorities refused to cooperate. The person she deemed responsible for her daughter's disappearance went unquestioned. Even after she supplied them with photographic evidence, she couldn't get anyone to listen to her.
What she was forced to endure in the course of her own personal investigation is chilling. Kathy was jailed, fired, and threatened. She was faced with sexual blackmail by those in authority, just for trying to get them to do their jobs. Hers was a terrifying descent into a world of deceit, pornography, child trafficking, and suicide. And for her efforts, she received a trip negotiated by the FBI into a state penitentiary.
Her family was threatened, her friends were harassed, and a newscaster actually lost his job for airing her story on TV. Police officials didn't appreciate the bad publicity they received and actively tried to discredit Kathy.
But throughout this entire nightmarish event, the residents of Tampa, Florida, assisted Kathy in every possible way imaginable. This book is her thank-you to those people who didn't give up on her-or Jennifer.
When I met Carlos in the spring of 1968, I was thirteen years old. Carlos was a seventeen-year-old James Dean wanna be, not in looks, but attitude. You know the cocky kind, with a chip on his shoulder, just waiting for someone to knock it off. To a thirteen-year-old girl with the same attitude, he was the catch of the season. Even if he wasn't very good looking, he had a car! He treated me like a princess, my own Prince Charming.
I felt like a big shot when Carlos picked me up from school in his car, buying me presents and telling me how pretty I was. My Mother, Frances, was extremely unhappy about me dating Carlos, which, of course, made me want to date him even more. After three years, I became pregnant. At 16, I thought I was old enough, I could handle anything, including raising a child. I knew I had to tell my parents, but I was scared to death. Carlos wanted us to run away and get married. We even started looking at places out of town. But the thought of never seeing my Mother and Father again changed my mind. To this day, I'm still not sure what I was more afraid of, my parents killing me or the news killing my parents.
I walked into my Mother's bedroom; she was in her closet hanging up clothes.
This is a bad idea ... I'm so dead; she is so going to kill me.... Maybe I should just make a run for it ...
My thoughts ran a race with the beating of my heart. I held my breath, trying to figure out what to say, when Mom looked at me with those piercing eyes. For a second, I felt certain she already knew my secret.
"Kathy is everything Okay?"
I blurted out my guilty secret before I even thought.
"Mom, I'm pregnant!"
Oh my God, did I just say that?
Her eyes rolled up into her head and she fell flat on the floor! I started screaming. I knew for sure she was having a heart attack.
"I killed Mom!"
I ran to my mom, in a total panic saying:
"Mom, please Mom, please don't die!"
I screamed at the top of my lungs, demanding that someone call for help, not knowing Mom and I were alone in the house. At that moment, I realized how much I loved my mother. All I cared about was that Mom was okay. She opened her eyes, her face was very pale, but she looked like she was okay! I helped her up, and we sat on the bed. Looking at me with very sad eyes, she grabbed me and hugged me. She kept saying:
"My poor baby, my poor baby"
Let me tell you a little about my mother. She was a beautiful women and I am not just saying that because she was my mother. Wherever Mom went, men would always do a double take. Her long jet-black hair hung below her shoulders. Mom could have been a model if only she had been taller than 4'11". Her personality lit up any room she entered, with her bright smile and caring attitude toward everyone. She was well known, loved and respected. Mom felt each and every person was special and deserved respect. She especially loved children, and was more than willing to organize benefits that would raise money for their needs.
Mom volunteered a lot at the school, and I believe she did that so she could be close to us. Now I am not saying she did not yell or spank us because she did. But if someone were to hurt us, watch out! She would be right there to protect us, whether we were right or wrong. If we were wrong though, we had better watch out when we got home.
These qualities didn't even include her fabulous parties. I can see her now dancing and singing, making so many people laugh and just having a good time. I was very proud to say she was my Mom.
Now I had let her down, but she wasn't yelling at me, she just hugged me and rocked me in her arms saying:
"Everything will be okay my baby, don't you worry! I need to call your Dad though, okay?"
Her voice was soft as she talked to me. I knew my Dad would not be mad, probably hurt, but not mad. He was always so calm and easy going and I was his precious little princess. I could hear Mom's voice as she called him at work.
"Tony, I need you to come home. It's very important. No, I need you here now!"
I could tell by the way she spoke, he would be right home. It felt like my mother had just gotten off the phone when Dad walked through the front door. The sound of his boots walking through the kitchen drew me into a state of fear, much like a horror movie. The sounds were getting closer and closer. I kept telling myself to calm down, everything would be okay, but my heart was racing. Dad started calling: "Franny, where are you?"
As Dad walked into the room, I glanced up to see his face. I felt so ashamed; it was hard for me to look at him!
Now you need to understand a little about the reputation I had at school. It seemed as though I was constantly getting into trouble. Once I caught a couple lizards before going into class. I let them bite into my earlobes and wore them into class like earrings. Of course, they eventually got tired and dropped off. The other girls (not me) disrupted class, screaming and climbing on top of their desks, just because those lizards were running around on the floor. Basically, Mom made a trip each week, to the principal's office regarding my bad behavior. I was the black sheep of my siblings, always in trouble at school, which was probably Dad's first thought upon getting Mom's call. She had tears pouring down her face as she ran over to him, hugging him around his waist. Her words rang out,
"Tony, Kathy is pregnant." Let me tell you, there wasn't a hole deep enough to swallow me at that moment! My eyes never left the floor as he walked over to me, keeping an arm around Mom at the same time. Not really knowing what would come next, yet never in a lifetime would I have expected to see the tears silently streaking down his cheeks. He folded me into his strong arms, between Mom and him, hugging both of us. In a sad, yet strong voice he said:
"It will be okay Princess; I will make arrangements for an abortion."
The hole that wasn't deep enough to swallow me wasn't deep enough to hold me either. I stepped away from them and put my hands over my abdomen in a protective manner. I could hear my own shocked voice saying through the tears running down my face:
"NO! Dad, I am going to get married and have my baby!"
Mom blurted out: "But you are only sixteen years old."
Putting his arm back around me, Dad gently led Mom and me into the living room, motioning for us all to have a seat. He tried to explain:
"Honey, you are too young, you have only just finished the ninth grade. We can't let this happen to you. You have your whole life ahead of you! Kathy, please just think it over, we can discuss this again in the morning, after you have had a chance to think this through."
Looking at their tear streaked, pale faces, I told him:
But I already knew what my answer would be in the morning. I felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and asked them if I could call Carlos. My mind was on the discussion I was planning to have with him, not the turmoil I had created for them. After a rather tense evening meal, we were all excused from the table earlier than normal. Mom and Dad retreated to their bedroom.
I shared a bedroom with my sister Nancy. We would spend hours talking about our day each night before sleeping. This night was no different. As we were getting ready for bed, she wanted to know what was going on. Had I done something at school to upset Mom and Dad? Relieved I could finally share my secret, I pulled her down to sit on the bed. As I sat there explaining everything to her, I felt a sense of dread sitting on my shoulders again. I thought about never sleeping in my bed, or having Nancy to talk to each night. Not to be able to roughhouse with my brothers. The emotions of the entire day just flooded in, overwhelming me. They paraded through my brain; fear, despair, pain, sorrow, relief, excitement, and loss. I began shaking, the tears rolling down my face. Nancy put her arms around me, and hugged me tight.
"I will always be here for you Kathy. We will always be best friends; we have each other no matter what happens."
Slowly her words sank in, and I hugged her back.
"Thank you. I love you Nancy, I couldn't have asked for a better sister."
We were in the room together for several hours discussing everything: baby names, if giving birth would hurt; anything we could think of that had to do with babies. We were finally talked out, on the verge of sleep when Dad walked into our room. His eyes were red from crying. Nancy pretended she was asleep, but I knew she wasn't, not yet anyway. Dad walked over to the rocking chair he and Mom used when reading us bedtime stories years ago. Picking it up, he moved it in front of my bed facing towards my pillow. I watched wide-eyed, finally asking:
"What are you doing Dad?"
I could tell by the sound of his voice, he was still extremely emotional, but he stood tall. He was my hero no matter what was thrown at him. We could always lean on him for strength. Slowly he sat down and said:
"I am going to stay here until you wake up and give me your decision. I love you Kathy, and your Mother and I will be beside you. Whatever, you decide to do!"
His voice was shaking as he spoke. I didn't want to hurt my parents any more than I already had, but I wanted this baby, I loved this baby, I NEEDED this baby. I couldn't explain it! I just thanked him, jumping out of bed to give him a big hug and kiss. I felt so loved, so lucky to have such a great Dad. I fell asleep that night as the silent tears streamed down my face.
I crawled out of bed the next morning and saw Dad still sitting in that chair. His face was wet from the tears he couldn't seem to stop. Before I was all the way out of bed, he said:
"I—I'm so sorry Kathy, I just can't leave until I hear your answer."
He was watching me with knowing eyes. He already knew what I was going to say before I even said it. In a reasoning voice, I said:
"Dad, can you understand how I feel? I don't want to hurt you or Mom, but Carlos loves me. I want us to become a family like you and Mom."
Dad stood up, cupping his hands around my intent face saying:
"You are my little Princess, Kathy. Your Mother and I love you very much. I can't say I agree with your decision, but we will honor it!"
I hugged him as relief washed over me! I said:
"Please Dad, don't worry about me, I will be fine."
After hugging me back tightly for a minute, he left the room.
Believing I was doing the right thing gave me the strength I needed to fight for my baby. I already decided I was old enough. I was ready to get married, and take care of my baby. Suddenly I realized I was going to be late for school. After frantically dressing, I drove to school. Even after talking to Carlos on the phone, I had to make sure everything I had told my parents was what he also wanted. Carlos was waiting for me at school, running up to my car as I parked. He didn't even wait for me to get out of the car before poking his head in my window, kissing me hard. Breathlessly, I began telling him what ... but he stopped me by pressing one finger to my lips saying:
"Let's talk later; you are going to be late for class."
Getting through classes that day was a real chore. All I could think about was my parents, Carlos and the baby I was carrying. When the final school bell rang, I ran out to my car where Carlos was waiting for me. He grabbed me around the waist, swinging us in a small circle.
"How's my girl?"
After a small hesitation, I replied:
"Carlos, I told my parents everything, they are okay with us getting married; if that is what you really want?"
He slowly set me back on my feet while smiling the entire time.
"I love you Kathy, I promise we will have a great life together".
September 27, 1970. My name changed that day. Kathy Marteliz, no Mrs. Kathy Marteliz. WOW! A roller coaster of thoughts zoomed through my mind as I lay there looking at everything around me. I thought of all I would miss after I moved out. My emotions were riding that roller coaster; and they changed from the happiness I first felt upon waking to a profound sadness. Excitement replaced that sadness, as I visualized owning my own home, with a white picket fence. A beautiful baby cradled in my arms as I sat swinging on the front porch. No matter, boy or girl, I would name the baby after Dad, showing him how much I loved and respected him. I wanted the type of marriage and family life my parents' lived. My emotions were high and I didn't know how to turn them off. Anxiety crept back in, fear of what the future would hold. I shook my head as I jumped out of bed; today was going to be a very long day. We had a small wedding planned, just the family!
I dressed in a rush when I heard a lot of noise coming from Mom's kitchen. I hurried to open my door only to find Mom standing there.
"Kathy, close your eyes."
She covered my eyes with her hand, and then helped me walk into the family room. As she took her hands away from my eyes everyone greeted me with a loud chorus of
As I looked with amazement the ceiling was covered in white and pink balloons. Dozens of crystal bowls filled with hundreds of white roses. The tables were draped with white lace tablecloths and pink candles everywhere. On one of the tables was a wedding cake with roses all around it and mom's good china plates. It was a hundred times more beautiful than I could have imagined. They had done all of this for me. Tears of excitement and love cascaded down my face; I just couldn't believe my parents did this for me! Handing me some tissue from her own pocket, Mom said:
"Okay, Kathy, you're going to make your face blotchy. I want you to go back to your room and get ready. Your dad and I will be taking you to the church for your ceremony shortly."
I had already seen Mom's red eyes and knew the tissue had been hers. She looked tired and had been crying.
"Mom, can I talk to you for a second?"
She guided me back toward my room away from everyone, saying:
"Sure, what is it honey?"
I turned and gave her a big hug, telling her:
"Thank you for everything you have done for me Mom. I know this has to be hard for you and Dad. I love you both so much and I won't ever forget all you have done."
Mom didn't say anything, just hugged me back that much tighter. Suddenly, she let me go, giving me a little shove in the direction of my room.
"It's hard letting go Kathy, but I will work on it. I love you too."
Shadows filled the chapel. The only light came from the flickering candles in the windows. Carlos stood there by the sculpture of the Blessed Mother. Mom and Dad were seated in the front pew. It could never be fixed, never. I can't undo what I had done and I just hoped they would forgive me in time. I walked down that lonely aisle, but as I walked, hope that something good would come of all this pain gave me strength. As I stood at the altar Carlos looked at me with such warmth and caring in his eyes, smiling from ear to ear. He whispered to me how much he loved me, but all I could hear was the crying behind me.
Shockingly, at that very moment of sadness, the baby moved. I felt the baby move! Wonder filled my mind. God let me know then and there that I was doing the right thing. Mom and Dad I hope one day you can forgive me!
After the wedding, my parents offered for us to stay with them until we found a place of our own. I was very happy about their offer; on one hand, I couldn't wait to get married and be on my own, yet now that it was a reality, I didn't want to leave my safe haven. I wanted to stay with my parents.
Carlos was working full time in construction, with his family, making ten dollars an hour. He didn't like living at my parent's home and forced me into looking for a home of our own. We eventually found a new government unit. The home wasn't ready to move into yet, so Carlos agreed we could stay with my parents' until the baby was born.
Excerpted from Jennifer, Where Are You? by Katherine Ann Longo Copyright © 2011 by Katherine Ann Longo. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted December 23, 2011
After reading the book, I realized for the first time in 30 years, that in Kathy's eyes, she still believed that I had something to do with her daughters disappearance. I am in her book as the bar owner ( Las Crackers) who she named Darlene James. I knew Jennifer, her father, her step mother, all of her fathers brothers, the private detective and Kathy's father. This story is the way Kathy wants the world to believe what happened, but is a book of lies and misrepresentation of the true facts. The truth about Jennifer is that she was one of those children who fell through the cracks. She wasn't wanted and was in everyones way. She was starved for attention and struggled with wanting to be loved. The only times I ever saw this child was when her father came to the bar with her. The first time I ever saw her, he had left her in the car, in front of the building. He was inside drinking a pitcher of beer with his brother's. It was in the afternoon and just a few regulars inside, so I insisted he bring her in and never leave her in the car again. The Longo family hindered the police dept. from doing their job. They threw money in everyones face, thinking they could buy back this little girl. The only thing that child wanted was to be loved. I believe she trusted someone who made her feel loved or wanted, the last day of her life and I believe that day was the day she disappeared.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 28, 2012
No text was provided for this review.