Updated: May 8, 2020
Tricia went outside after school in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and was never seen again. She was seen outside playing with puppies at the neighbor's house on their porch. A witness said she was seen getting in to a car with at least one man near Leland and Malden
The family realized Tricia disappeared about 4:00 P.M. and immediately began their search. Even though her family contact police several times, they did not join the search until 10:00 P.M. that night.
More than 35 years after her disappearance, NBC 5 pulled the police reports that in fact proves there was a suspect, though that had never publicly been known, nor was it known to Tricia's family. This man spoke to the police about Tricia, and even mentioned that 'maybe' he was her killer.
A vehicle in question was described as a blue four door 1979 Dodge or Pontiac car, per witnesses. It had damage to the front passenger door and the plate began with 'Q' and 'R'. This vehicle was registered to Marvin Pontarelli. That came from a witness who described the vehicle Tricia got in to, to the police, the day she disappeared. Marvin's criminal background included charges for kidnapping, sexual assault and rape.
Reports then show that law enforcement took Marvin's picture to neighbors in Tricia's area, in which many knew who he was, including a witness that reported seeing Marvin going in to the Malden Arms hotel with Tricia on the very day she was reported missing.
The day after Tricia's disappearance, Marvin went in to the Area 6 Police Department in Chicago and to be interviewed, in which he agreed to take a polygraph test, which resulted in finding him 'non-cooperative/guilty'.
On the third day of Tricia's disappearance, witnesses came forth as Marvin stood in a police line-up. The report stated that not one, but two of the witnesses pointed out Marvin as the person seen with Tricia. They then left in a car blue color. A third witness also pointed Marvin out as the person they saw with Tricia.
One of the witnesses reported that Marvin was the one that walked past him when he was walking his dog. Marvin threw a cigarette at the witnesses dog. The witness told him not to do that because the dog started to bark at Marvin.
Marvin's other offenses also included offenses against other neighborhood children, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, indecent liberties with a child, child porn and weapons charges.
Charges were dismissed.
About two years later, his name came up again out of Tucson, Arizona. Marvin was overheard to want a young blond white girl to be pictured with Larry Fassler while having sex with him for blackmail. Fassler has since died.
Fassler was also in prison at the same time Marvin was in California. Fassler allegedly owed Marvin money. Fassler had an address book which listed Tricia, and her Chicago address where Tricia was abducted from. The date on this list was October 1982.
Fassler was later arrested by Phoenix police for an unrelated charge. 'Immediately after his arrest, Pontarelli was questioned as to the disappearance." He began to cry and said that he believed Tricia was dead and buried on some property in Illinois that his family owns. He then stopped talking. Later, Marvin told police he believed Fassler took Tricia to Mexico.
Three of Tricia's friends (ages 11 and 12) picked Marvin out of the lineup. 'They reported he took them to his apartment, gave them beer and narcotics, copulated with them, forced them to engage in other sexual acts, and photographed them. These young witnesses then didn't show up for court as witnesses. 'Their families... subsequently acquired expensive, late-model automobiles. There were multiple instances of apparent payoffs and tampering with the system. The case was dismissed.'
It was believed that Marvin's apartments may be where Tricia was buried, as cement was being poured at the time of the abduction.
Marvin died in 1994.
Tricia Kellett's father died in 2009.
If you have any information on Tricia's abduction, please contact the Chicago Police Department at (312) 744-8261