Let’s talk about it: Francheska and Misheila Martinez

On June 9, 2000, Francheska Martinez disappeared from Paterson, New Jersey. She was twelve years old; it was the day before her thirteenth birthday. A few days later, the miniskirt and pink top Francheska had been wearing the day she disappeared were found inside a plastic supermarket bag in the driveway outside her mom’s house.

Francheska had a twin sister, Misheila. One month and twelve days after Francheska went missing, Misheila also disappeared. It’s been sixteen and a half years since then and nobody has heard from either of the girls.

Although the NCMEC classifies both sisters as runaways, the phrase “human trafficking” comes to mind. According to her friends, Francheska had a secret “boyfriend” who was 22 years old. I can well understand why he would want to keep such a relationship a secret because, pretty much by definition, there was something very wrong going on there. According to this legal website, if Francheska was having sex with that “boyfriend” he could have faced a very long prison term.

But even if human trafficking was involved here, it’s VERY unusual for these girls to have been gone as long as they have, without a word to anyone or any indication as to what became of them. What do you suppose happened? Let’s talk about it.

24 thoughts on “Let’s talk about it: Francheska and Misheila Martinez

  1. Sheila Roberts February 2, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    I wonder if the bag containing Francheska’s clothes was there all the while or just showed up the day they found it (several days after she disappeared). I can see a young girl changing her clothes after leaving the house, especially if the person she was meeting wanted her to look more mature. On the other hand, if the clothes definitely showed up later, then that would be a bit more disturbing. I also wonder if either girl took anything with them. It’s heartbreaking that it’s been so long since they were heard from.

    • Meaghan February 2, 2017 / 9:33 pm

      That is a very good question.

  2. Jaclyn February 2, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    It seems to me that Mischeila met up with her sister, Francheska, at some point and they may have both been victims of trafficking. Other than that, could the step-father be involved in some way? Why would the clothing of Francheska be dropped off at her house onto the driveway? Would that be to confuse the issue of who she went missing with, or make it look like the 22 year old boyfriend did it? They could still be alive and just do not want to be found, and/or have so many extenuating circumstances that they do not want to be found. Or they could be afraid of coming back because of how they left, and are ashamed. They would be 29 years old, so you would think they would want to be found, or contact their family.

    • Meaghan February 2, 2017 / 9:29 pm

      The clothing, if it was actually left in that location the day it was found, is creepy but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why would Francheska risk going back to the house (and possibly getting seen) just to dump the clothes? I could see a kidnapper doing it, just to screw around with the family’s heads, or, if it was an inside job, to confuse the investigation.

  3. Marshall Loveday February 2, 2017 / 11:30 pm

    Clothing is probably a red herring. The police more than likely concentrated on any cell phone communications the girls may have had. I’m a bit surprised there aren’t more developments on this one. Need to bring back a John Walsh type show (America’s Most Wanted’) which focuses on these unsolved cases. There’s just too many of them. I don’t know if anyone has heard of ‘The Locator’ show with Troy Dunn. He and his staff are excellent at tracking people down, sometimes with very few clues. I’d bet he could be a big resource in cases like this one.

    • Sheila February 2, 2017 / 11:39 pm

      Although it’s possible that they had cell phones, they were only 12/13 at the time and cell phones were a bit less common then.

  4. terromangerro February 3, 2017 / 12:19 am

    It bothers me so much when a case like this is classified as a runaway, because that implies that there is consent from the missing person. When the MP is as young as 12, i don’t think the child is mature enough to truly consent to leaving her home, family, school, etc.

    If an eight year old vanishes, even if she is suspected to have left of her own free will, that’s considered an abduction, no questions asked. Same thing with a nine year old. Also likely with a ten year old. If an eleven year old disappeared as well, even if with some adult male “family friend” set on taking her to another country, I’d say LE would lean towards classifying the case as an abduction rather than voluntary missing. So why, at the age of 12, is this child now considered to be a willing runaway rather than an abducted child? I’m not nit picking; the designation of the case does have an impact in how many resources are used to help find the MP.

    It reminds me of an incident I had about 15 years ago. There was a front page article in the paper about how many registered sex offenders would be given some type of clemency where they would no longer have to register as an offender. The paper interviewed and quoted one of these guys and in the text that was directly from the reporter, as she described the crime he committed to get there to begin with as him “having sex” with a four year old girl. I’m not a victim of past abuse, but I was livid by this. Nobody “has sex with” a four year old child. The phrase “to have sex with” implies consent. The only way an adult “has sex with” a four year old child is if it’s rape. No question.

    Sorry, this topic has made me think about all of this due to the age of the girls. I appreciate your allowing me to go off in a tangent here.

    • Sheila February 3, 2017 / 1:57 am

      I agree. Even if they each left voluntarily, they clearly had help from some criminal with bad intentions. I don’t know anything about the investigation, but more intense prodding might have broken a human trafficking ring.

    • Meaghan February 3, 2017 / 11:51 am

      There’s a song I have with the following lines:

      First time I had sex, I was three
      First time consenting was thirteen…

      • Jessica February 5, 2017 / 11:30 pm

        Voltaire? ❤

      • Meaghan February 5, 2017 / 11:36 pm


  5. Peter Henderson Jr. February 3, 2017 / 9:09 am

    Cindy Zarzycki was a typical teenage girl when she went missing on April 20, 1986.

    Whenever I hear the classification, “Teen Runaway,” I think of Cindy, a 13-year-old girl last seen heading to a Dairy Queen on Nine Mile Road in Eastpointe, Michigan.

    If the police who had initially investigated her case had not called her a teen runaway, maybe she would not have been missing for over two decades.

    When recovered, along with her bones, “A few homemade cassette tapes were found with in what family members remembered being her jean purse.”

    Cindy’s case here

  6. Peter Henderson Jr. February 3, 2017 / 9:35 am

    Sorry the link does not work. Just goggle Cindy’s name for the story.

    A Story about another Teen that I wrote a few years ago.

    ‘Just 13, barely a teen. The long-ago story of Maryann Measles, a hometown girl.’

  7. Jaclyn February 3, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    The age of these two is where I completely agree that they should NOT be considered “runaways.” Tell me you had good sense at even 18 years old! If someone convinced you that your life was no good, and to go with them and run away to something better, you just might do it and then be trapped and regret it! Yes, some children are mature at a very young age, but my own daughter was educated and mature in many ways at 18 years old, and very immature in others. Nevertheless, if my daughter went missing, even up to 18 years old, I would consider her missing under suspicious circumstances, especially if an older companion was involved. No stone would be left unturned, which might be true for those that are related to the Martinez sisters.
    Perhaps we do not have all of the information about the search for them, but I would like to know what the family has done to locate them. Did they show up at the Puerto Rican Day parade and look for Francheska?

    • marsyao February 3, 2017 / 5:21 pm

      Jaclyn, yes, they were still children, and they were Immature, but that did not mean they could not make wrong decision, there were tens of thousands children left their home voluntarily every year for various reason, and all of them made that decision were under other people’s influence and whatever happened to them afterward had nothing to do with the reason why they choose to runaway, some of them would late decide to come back to their family, some of them would not. we do not have to sugar coated about it.
      In this case however I am on the fence, it was possible the sisters had a plan to run away together, or there could be foul play: someone lured one of the sister away and killed her, and because the other sister knew that person, so he decide to lured the other sister away and murdered her too.
      I do not believe “selling into human trafficking” theory, I always hear “human trafficking” theory when there is a girl missing, but I never believe it, victim’s family use this theory because that would means their love one is still alive, it does not represent the worst scenario, it provide some kind of comforting in a hellish experience,

    • Meaghan February 3, 2017 / 7:33 pm

      I don’t automatically assume that EVERY dating relationship between a girl in her teens and a man in his twenties is wrong, because when Michael and I started seeing each other, he was 27 to my 16. But I don’t think a 12-year-old should be dating anyone at all, never mind someone a decade older.

    • terromangerro February 3, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      Kind of to your point, there have been cases where an adult with a mental/emotional disability that had their emotional age at a juvenile level was considered to be a victim of sexual assault because their disability didn’t allow them to really consent to the act even if they seemed to consent. How can this be, when an actual juvenile does supposedly have the ability to consent to leaving? It can’t be both ways.

  8. Gaia227 February 4, 2017 / 3:52 am

    Runaways? That is annoying they were classified as such. I wonder if the ‘boyfriend’ was ever tracked down? a 22 year man ‘dating’ a 12 year old? Sounds like grooming to me.
    I lived in NYC for many years and used to go to Paterson on a regular basis as that was where my doctor was. It is a pretty rough little city. A lot of crime, gangs, drugs, poverty, etc. I know from the local news that Paterson definitely had issues with sex trafficking. I remember hearing more than once on the local news that a ring had been busted there.

  9. Mia February 5, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    It would be interesting to know about Misheila’s behavior/answers during police interviews about her sister’s disappearance. I would think if they had planned something, I wouldn’t think a 12 year old would be very good at keeping that under wraps.

    • Mia February 5, 2017 / 9:41 pm

      I would also think I should proofread my comments before I post them. ((eye roll))

  10. Leiyah February 19, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    I’d be rather suspicious of the step-father myself.

  11. Amy Webb May 22, 2019 / 9:23 pm

    The whole part of the note stating the mom didn’t love the stepdad enough is extremely alarming. That is something often told to stepdaughters to get them to “love” the stepdad. “Your mom doesn’t love me, she doesn’t give me any affection. I am so lonely.” It is a grooming tactic that is very common and very effective for young teens. That bothered me a great deal.

  12. Aliya July 17, 2020 / 4:02 am

    Wow.. I am appalled at the straight up IGNORANCE the police have demonstrated in this case. Like is this for FLIPPING REAL. Do any of the GODDAMN detectives possess ANY COMMON SENSE WHATSOEVER? I am flipping LIVID right now. I am physically disturbed like shaking and blood boiling like ARE U SERIOUS. Do I REALLY have to say ANYTHING? 12 yr olds??? Really??? Just effing WOW son. Like effing WOW. This is an INSULT to all HUMAN beings and the fact that this case has been received ZERO attention or coverage of ANY SORT- am I really flipping reading this? Those cops should feel ASHAMED and the fact that they were fine with leaving it and walking away speaks VOLUMES of level of “justice” and protection that these law officials obviously “dedicate” towards the people they are sworn to serve and protect. What a flipping JOKE yo. How can u people SLEEP at night? Do u sleep at all? How can u not be plagued with GUILT?? GROWN ADULT MEN and WOMEN purposely CHOOSING to look the other way leaving the souls of these poor sweet beautiful baby girls to continue suffering alone
    unable to rest in peace as they were likely thrown away like TRASH and left to rot somewhere NO DOUBT having suffered a miserable painful TORTUROUS death at the hands of their POS STEP-FATHER- the man is free to walk the streets no doubt carefully surveying his surroundings before he INEVITABLY will MOST CERTAINLY select his next victim- likely another DAUGHTER of whatever dummie that is DUMB enough to even affiliate with this disgusting PIG TRASH. I am infuriated for these babygirls. How much longer will these babies be left to suffer waiting to be recovered and finally put to rest??!? This is just a sad and unfortunate example of the type of justice these police are dedicated to providing the people WHO FUND THEIR LIVES.

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