Overview of Ashley Martinez
Could the older man Ashley was talking with be responsible for her disappearance?
Ashley Martinez was a 15 year old attending Robidoux Middle School at the time of her disappearance. Ashley had two brothers and had recently adopted a cat two months earlier. Her family recalls that Ashley was happy and was close with her brothers.
The day Ashley went missing. Ashley was last seen on July 6, 2004, at the Kurg Pool in St. Joseph, Missouri with her younger brother. At some point, Ashley had borrowed her friend’s phone to call Christopher Hart, a 32 year old man who lived nearby. The two had been planning on going on a road trip to either California or Oregon, but this was information only Ashley’s friends knew about. When Ashley’s mother went to pick up her children later that afternoon, she noticed that Ashley was nowhere to be found. She immediately reported her missing. In 2001, Ashley briefly ran away, but she returned home within a day, but her mother knew something wasn’t right when Ashley left her belongings behind.
She was last seen wearing blue jean shorts, a black top, a black bikini with a red cherry print under her clothing, white Reebok sneakers with red accents, and a ring with two hearts joined together. Ashley was 5’3” tall and weighed about 110 lbs. She had sandy blonde hair and blue eyes, and has a scar on her left wrist. Her tongue, naval and ears are pierced.
At the time, Christopher Hart was in home confinement per court orders. Hart has been arrested numerous times on charges ranging from assault, drug charges, unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. Prior to Ashley’s disappearance, Hart was able to take a plea deal for assault in the second degree and had to participate in a court mandated drug treatment program. On June 1, 2004, Hart violated his probation and was supposed to attend a court hearing on July 8, 2004. However, he did not attend his violation of probation hearing which resulted in the court executing a warrant out for his arrest on July 22, 2004.
Then on September 7, 2004, Hart was arrested after he had stolen a woman’s purse in Olympia, Washington. However, Hart told authorities his name was “Raymond M. Price”, which is actually the name of a relative. Ashley was not with Hart at the time of his arrest nor was the 1995 gray Pontiac Bonneville with Missouri plates that read 377-MPY. When he eventually returns to Missouri, authorities tried to contact Hart for an interview, but he declined and has been unhelpful regarding Ashley’s case.
A possible sighting. In the fall of 2004, a former principal of Ashley’s middle school, Denise Campbell, told police that she saw Ashley on the corner of Leonard and Frederick Ave with an unidentified black man. Campbell claims that Ashley had waved to her and then turned north on Leonard street. This sighting has not been confirmed by police, but they were contacted and this sighting was documented. It was later made public as part of an affidavit released by a local news outlet. The affidavit was released in 2009, almost five years since Ashley has vanished.
Where the case stands today. Ashley’s family and the St. Joseph Parks, Recreation & Civic Faculties Department, planted a sugar maple tree at Krug pool in July 2014. When in bloom, the sugar maple tree the leaves turn red- Ashley’s favorite color. Her family still demands answers regarding Ashley’s disappearance.