1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

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Post by lisette on Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:22 pm

Cops Return to 1989 Disappearance of Girl, 14
New Info Sparks Hope for Break in 20-Year-Old Cold Case; Police Search Forest for Clues

By JUSTIN STURKEN and JESSICA HORNIG
Oct. 28, 2009

It is Halloween season in New England, and the quiet streets of Woburn, Mass., are decorated with the ghosts and goblins that are the stuff of children's nightmares.

Family, friends, cops recall night in 1989 when girl, 14, disappeared in woods.
But this year also marks the 20th anniversary of a macabre local mystery that is terrifyingly real: the sudden disappearance of Melanie Melanson. Melanie was last seen at a high school party in the woods on the outskirts of town.

Det. Mike Pandolph has been on the case since the very beginning. "Melanie walked down the path to meet her girlfriends and other kids that were several years older than her, and that was the last time that she was seen," he told ABC News. "That was 20 years ago."

Melanie Melanson, 14 at the time, was the youngest of a dozen kids gathered in the woods that October night, most of them older teens who had been there many times before.

"Kids would gather, kids would hang out, and um, and drink," said Pandolph.

Melanie, just a freshman, was very flattered to have been included in the gathering. It was just days before her 15th birthday, and the young, pretty girl had much to look forward to, said prosecutor Marian Ryan.

"Her birthday was coming. She was getting her braces off. All kinds of things that were very exciting," said Ryan.

But the police and her family believe Melanie never saw her 15th birthday, and never came out of the woods that night. One of Melanie's aunts, Ruth Townsend, is still waiting for answers.

"It's too many years, too many years," said Townsend. "It's heartbreaking ... to feel that she is out there. We know she is out there ... 20 years is just too long -- way too long."

Life hadn't always been easy for Melanie. Her parents were both substance abusers who fought constantly. Melanie had even run away from home once before, going to live with her aunt Mary Ann and her grandmother in Woburn.

"Melanie had a challenging upbringing, but it wasn't without people who loved her," said Woburn District Attorney Gerry Leone. "She had cousins, aunts, and it was a very nice upbringing, despite her own biological parents having problems."This spring, authorities announced a renewed push on the case and offered a $5,000 reward for information to solve it.

On the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 27, 1989, Melanie and her friend Carmen Gonzalez left high school after class and walked home for the last time. That night, Melanie told her grandmother she was going to sleep over with a friend who lived next door. What Melanie didn't say was that she'd been invited to join a late-night gathering in the woods next to an industrial park.

Other kids at the party would later tell police that the party slowly dwindled down in the early hours of Saturday morning, and everyone drifted home.

But when dawn broke, Melanie was nowhere to be found. Her grandmother became very worried. By mid afternoon, Melanie's family had learned about the party, and made a series of frantic phone calls to almost everyone who had been there. The family called the Woburn Police Department and reported her missing.

Leone said the police set out on a massive manhunt for Melanie with cadaver dogs and helicopters, but the searches all came up empty. Melanie's family was devastated.

"You know, it's the most difficult thing in the world," said MaryAnn Masciulli, another of Melanie's aunts. "Trying to find her, knowing that when you find her, it's not going to be a good thing. It's heartbreaking. It's hard to describe."

Police eventually zeroed in on the people they believe were last seen with Melanie on the night she disappeared. They say everyone at the party agreed that she was the last girl left at the party. "It went to five boys and Melanie, and two boys and Melanie," said Leone.

Authorities at the time interrogated the two boys in question, but they were never charged. They continue to live in the area.
Leone believes there was foul play involved. "We have reason to believe that more than one person over the years has not only concealed Melanie's body, but may also be involved in further concealing it or even moving it," he said.

Over the years, there have also been rumors that Melanie was seen that night walking in a parking lot, through the darkened neighborhood, and down a street toward the next town.

The Melanson family has never given up, and neither have the police. Pandolph has chased leads and returned to the scene of the crime many times over the years. After the reward was announced, finally, just weeks ago, investigators returned to the woods acting, they said, on information they had just received.

Gonzalez has heard about the possibility of new information.

"They're looking for her body, you know, watching it, watching it on the news, it gives me goose bumps 'cause I'm like, they're looking for my friend's body," Gonzalez said.

Lawson said the family is hoping police do find a body. "For now we just want to bring her home," she said.

Everyone touched by Melanie's disappearance says an end to their torment cannot come quickly enough. On Nov. 1, Melanie would have turned 35 years old.

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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by CritterFan1 on Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:31 pm

If the police are looking for new information, they have probably brought back in for question, EVERY single person that was there that night. Bombard them with questions, make note of inconsistencies.Look At the Martha Huckley case....took 35 yrs or so to find out Michael Skakel did the crime. People used to not really suspect young teens like they do now. IMHO, it was someone Melanie knew at the party.What, some murdering, kidnapping perv just happened to be in the woods? Always look at the last people to see the victim. (I sound like Nancy Grace).
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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by charminglane on Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:51 pm

No, you do not sound like NG, Critter--you never mentioned the TWINS!
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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by raine1953 on Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:54 pm

K-9 Team Searches For New Clues In Cold Case

BOSTON -- New leads in a 22-year-old cold case, have police in Woburn once again searching for the remains of a missing teenager.

Melanie Melanson, a freshman at Woburn High School, disappeared on Oct. 27, 1989, just a few days short of her 15th birthday.
She was last seen at a party in the woods near the Stoneham town line with a group of friends.
Multiple ground searches have been held over the years but have not turned up any clues.
“Just a hole in your heart, a hole in your heart,” said Melanie’s aunt Karen Montgomery. “We just want to give her proper burial.”
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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by raine1953 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:36 pm

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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by lisette on Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:06 am

New tip prompts investigators to search state park for remains of girl missing since 1989
By Cristina Corbin



An anonymous tip is prompting investigators to search a Massachusetts state park for a teenage girl who mysteriously disappeared 23 years ago when she entered nearby woods with a group of friends and never came out.
Melanie Melanson was five days shy of her 15th birthday when she vanished in October 1989, after attending a party with friends in a wooded area near the Woburn-Stoneham town line. Authorities believe the girl was killed, but her body has never been found and no suspects have ever been named in the case.
"We don't believe she ran away. We believe that she's deceased."
- Jessica Pastore, spokeswoman for district attorney
But an anonymous tip recently received from a man in New Hampshire might bring investigators closer to finding the teen and apprehending the person or persons involved in her disappearance, a source close to the case told FoxNews.com.
The anonymous caller directed authorities to search nearby Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham, where he said one of the teens last seen partying with Melanson was spotted later that night, according to the source. The caller identified himself as a former friend of one of those teens.
"Our contact tells us there's a possibility she was put into this park," the source said.
Michael Garrigan, a private investigator who has worked on the case since 1991, confirmed that a group of 9-13 dog teams will search a portion of the state park on Saturday. The Middlesex County district attorney's office told FoxNews.com that an officer with the Woburn Police Department will also be present during the search.
Melanie, then a freshman at Woburn High School, was the youngest attendee at the party on Oct. 27, 1989, in a wooded hangout popular to area teenagers. In the hours immediately following her disappearance, authorities suspected the girl may have run away, but later concluded that she was likely killed.
"We don't believe she ran away. We believe that she's deceased," said Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex County district attorney's office.
"We're hopeful that we can find Melanie and give her the proper burial that she deserves," said Pastore, adding, "We know who was with Melanie the night she disappeared."
The girl's family has said she was last seen with two teenage boys in the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 1989, according to local media reports.
Garrigan said he believes that if Melanson's remains are in Middlesex Fells Reservation, "my gut feeling is that she was not alive" when she was taken out of the woods.
The latest search for the girl comes after dogs detected a positive hit for human decomposition last year in an area close to where she was last seen.
"Everyone came out of that woods but her," said Garrigan, "And I’m confident something is in that ground or was in that ground."
"I’m not going to stop looking until I find this girl," he said. "I don’t think any family should go this long without closure."
A $5,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to Melanie Melanson's remains. Anyone with information on her disappearance is urged to contact the Woburn Police Department at 781-933-1212 x853 or State Police assigned to the Middlesex district attorney's office at 781-897-6650.

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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by lisette on Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:18 am

Man Connected to Melanson Case Indicted on Armed Robbery Charges
Eugene Bertini, a former Woburn resident connected to the Melanie Melanson missing person's case, was indicted Friday.
By Danielle Masterson June 3, 2011

A Wakefield man connected to the Melanie Melanson missing person case 22years ago, was indicted in Middlesex Superior Court Friday on armed robbery charges.

Eugene Bertini, 37, and his wife, Leslie Bertini, 40, both of Wakefield, were indicted by the grand jury on charges of armed robbery (3 counts), armed assault with intent to rob, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, and larceny over $250.

An arraignment date has not yet been set, said Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone Friday afternoon.

According to authorities, on April 25, Eugene Bertini allegedly entered a North Street gas station in Wakefield with a handgun, hitting the employee on the side of the head with the gun. Bertini reportedly stole $250 and a necklace from a teenager at the gas station.

The Middlesex District Attorney's Office alleges that Bertini's wife, Leslie, was in the car with Bertini had prior knowledge prior of her husband's intent to commit the robbery. An arrest warrant was issued Friday for Leslie Bertini. Eugene Bertini is still in police custody from his previous district court arraignment in April.

Connection to Melanie
According to family and friends of Melanie Melanson, Eugene Bertini was one of the last two people to see Melanie alive in 1989.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said Melanie went to a party on the Woburn/Stoneham line in 1989, when she was 14-years-old and a freshman at Woburn High. She was never seen alive after the party.

Authorities are still searching for Melanie or any information related to the case. Members of the public with information that they believe would be helpful to the investigation can contact the Woburn Police Department at 781-933-1212 x853 or State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office at 781-897-6650.

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Post by lisette on Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:32 am

Once and a while something happens that just makes you think.

Last night on the news they showed a story about an armed robbery at a gas station near the lake in Wakefield that happened around 7pm Monday night. I was watching the news this morning and they said there was an arrest. Then they said who was arrested.

Eugene Bertini.

I went to school with Gene. I remember him well. And I remember the rumors. The really really bad rumors. The rumors that were even featured on ABC's 20/20 about a year and a half ago... for the 20th anniversary. That episode was called "Vanished".

Back in 1989, life was different, but I remember it. And I remember the posters. I remember seeing one at Sunnyhurst Farms on Main St up in the window. The top said "MISSING" with a picture of Melanie.

After watching the news and seeing Gene and all that again, I did a google search. Melanie disappeared just before Halloween in 1989, about a week before she turned 15. I had turned 15 less than 2 months earlier.

She was a year behind me in school and I remember her at the middle school in Stoneham before she moved in with her grandmother in Woburn. Even on the 20/20 special, she had the big "S" on her cheerleading uniform from Stoneham. She had just started her freshman year of HS at Woburn High.

She was invited to a party in the woods. Everyone from Stoneham and Woburn partied in those woods. It was off the road, hard to get to, and no one bothered you. Melanie went to the party. She was never seen again.

Per all the witness interviews, it was down to Melanie and 2 other people. One was Gene. Both guys said, no.. it was the other guy that was last with her.

Melanie's body was never found.

Tonight on the 6pm news Fox finally put it all together. Gene Bertini who was arrested for the armed robbery last night was the same Gene Bertini who was one of the last people to see Melanie alive.

This Halloween will be 22 years. Her parents are both dead, so is her grandmother. I can't imagine what her family had gone through all that time. 22 years. She was 2 months younger than me.

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Post by raine1953 on Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:36 am

I am so sorry to hear that her parent's had to go to their graves not knowing what happened to their daughter! I hope they find Melanie and are able to put the POS away that's responsible for her murder! Horrible.
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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by lisette on Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:48 pm

Dogs detect 'area of interest' in search for Massachusetts girl who disappeared 23 years ago

Cadaver dogs searching for a Massachusetts girl who disappeared 23 years ago have zeroed in on a small patch of parkland close to where an anonymous tipster recently suggested authorities check.
A private investigator leading the search for 14-year-old Melanie Melanson told FoxNews.com that three dogs were alerted to a small area of land during Saturday's search of Middlesex Fells Reservation. The girl was five days shy of her 15th birthday when she vanished in October 1989, after attending a party with friends in a wooded area near the Woburn-Stoneham town line. Authorities believe the girl was killed, but her body has never been found and no suspects have ever been named in the case.
Michael Garrigan, a private investigator who has worked on the case since 1991, said he recently received an anonymous tip from a man in New Hampshire. The anonymous caller directed authorities to search nearby Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham, where he said one of the teenage boys last seen partying with Melanson was spotted later that night. During Saturday's search, officers from the Woburn Police Department observed as Garrigan worked with the police-trained dogs.
Garrigan said at least three dogs picked up on an "area of interest" Saturday during their search of the 2,500-acre park. He described the area as a 15-by-15 foot square patch of land that would have been "very accessible" in 1989. He said the next step will likely call for investigators to use a Ground Penetrating Radar, or GPR, to detect possible human remains.
Melanie, then a freshman at Woburn High School, was the youngest attendee at the party on Oct. 27, 1989, in a wooded hangout popular to area teenagers. In the hours immediately following her disappearance, authorities suspected the girl may have run away, but later concluded that she was likely killed.
"We don't believe she ran away. We believe that she's deceased," Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex County district attorney's office, told FoxNews.com last week.
"We're hopeful that we can find Melanie and give her the proper burial that she deserves," said Pastore, adding, "We know who was with Melanie the night she disappeared."
The girl's family has said she was last seen with two teenage boys in the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 1989, according to local media reports.
Garrigan said he believes that if Melanson's remains are in Middlesex Fells Reservation, "my gut feeling is that she was not alive" when she was taken out of the woods.
The latest search for the girl comes after dogs detected a positive hit for human decomposition last year in an area close to where she was last seen.
"Everyone came out of that woods but her," said Garrigan, "And I’m confident something is in that ground or was in that ground."
"I’m not going to stop looking until I find this girl," he said. "I don’t think any family should go this long without closure."
A $5,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to Melanie Melanson's remains. Anyone with information on her disappearance is urged to contact the Woburn Police Department at 781-933-1212 x853 or State Police assigned to the Middlesex district attorney's office at 781-897-6650.

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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:51 am


Melanie Melanson Missing: Soil Samples, Cadaver Dogs Help Revive Cold Case
Posted: 08/01/2012 11:19 am

A team of forensic anthropologists is preparing to dig for evidence in the case of Melanie Jo Melanson, a missing Massachusetts teenager who disappeared almost 23 years ago. Melanson went to a party with friends and never returned.

According to Michael Garrigan, a private investigator who has worked on the case since 1991, soil samples that were taken from a specific area of interest in the case have tested positive for elements of human decomposition.

"I received intelligence that led me to the location as being a possible place for her burial," Garrigan told The Huffington Post. The private investigator did not disclose the location but said it is not far from Woburn, a city about 12 miles northwest of Boston.

"We recently set up a search with some cadaver dogs in the same area, and they also alerted," said Garrigan. "We now have a dig set up for Aug. 17 and 18."

Melanson, a freshman at Woburn High School, was just five days away from celebrating her 15th birthday when she attended an outdoor party on Oct. 27, 1989. The gathering, which was attended by about 20 people, took place in a wooded area along the Woburn-Stoneham line.

"People started to leave around 10:30 or 11:00 that night," Garrigan said. "It got down to just three people -- Melanie and two gentlemen -- and they came out of the woods and she did not."

The two men later told police they had left the party without Melanson. Local law enforcement conducted multiple searches of the area, but they were unable to locate any sign of the missing teen.

Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex County district attorney's office, said authorities have not named the two men who were allegedly last seen with Melanson as suspects or persons of interest. She did, however, say that authorities do not think Melanson is alive.

"We presume that she is deceased," said Pastore.

Garrigan told HuffPost that Dr. William Marvin Bass, a renowned forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, will lead the upcoming dig. He also said it will be conducted in collaboration with local law enforcement.

Neither of Melanson's parents will be present for the dig.

"They both died somewhat young," Garrigan said. "They were completely heartbroken, and [their daughter's disappearance] probably contributed to their early demise."

In a recent interview with Boston's WHDH-TV, Melanson’s uncle, Frank Mascuilli, said the missing teen's remaining family members are hoping for closure.

"We're just hoping we can get some answers ... beyond being able to explain it," Mascuilli said.

Garrigan, a father of four, said he has worked the case voluntarily almost from the start, contributing his time and money pro bono. He wants nothing more than to give Melanson a proper burial.

"I won't stop," Garrigan said. "It's not about the dollar, it's about the child, and right now we are closer than we've ever been."

Melanie Melanson was 5 feet 3 inches tall and 105 pounds at the time of her disappearance. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and braces on her teeth. A $5,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to her remains. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Woburn Police Department at 781-933-1212 x853 or the Massachusetts State Police at 781-897-6650. Visit "Find Melanie Melanson" on Facebook: Facebook.com/#!/melanie.melanson.5

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Normal Re: 1989 Disappearance of Melanie Melanson, 14, from Woburn, Mass

Post by lisette on Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:58 pm

Posted on Aug. 17.

Woburn site is searched for evidence of Melanie Melanson, teen who disappeared in 1989

The search continues in Woburn today for evidence that might lead to the 1989 disappearance of 14-year-old Melanie Melanson.

Excavators have been working since early this morning, sifting through dirt in an area near railroad tracks on Montvale Avenue. Soil that was tested in the area in November came back positive for human remains, said Alan Tate, a private investigator and founder of Mission for the Missing, the organization funding the dig.

The crews have been digging 28-inch-deep pits by hand. “We work an area, fill it, and then we move,” Tate said. “It’s a long, tedious and slow process.”

Using trowels and tiny rakes, they’re looking for any items that might be connected with Melanson. “We haven’t found anything yet,” Tate said this afternoon.

Today’s dig will continue into the early evening and resume at 7 a.m. Saturday.

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Couldn't find any news on the results of this search.
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Post by Guest on Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:59 am

Thanks for trying to find an update.
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Normal Authorities search site for Massachusetts girl who disappeared 23 years ago Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/13/authorities-search-site-for-massachusetts-girl-who-disappeared-23-years-ago/#ixzz2F0ADZzuF

Post by raine1953 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:35 pm

Authorities combed an area near a Kraft Foods plant in Massachusetts Wednesday for clues in the case of a 14-year-old girl who disappeared 23 years ago.
Three helicopters with the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing flew over the area and took photos of an excavation in the renewed search for Melanie Melanson, the Woburn Patch reported.
Melanson was five days shy of her 15th birthday when she vanished in October 1989, after attending a party with friends in a wooded area near the Woburn-Stoneham town line. Authorities believe the girl was killed, but her body has never been found and no suspects have ever been named in the case.
The girl's relatives were reportedly on site Wednesday when investigators searched the area.
In a July interview with FoxNews.com, Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex County district attorney's office, said, "We don't believe she ran away. We believe that she's deceased."
"We're hopeful that we can find Melanie and give her the proper burial that she deserves," said Pastore, adding, "We know who was with Melanie the night she disappeared."
Melanie, then a freshman at Woburn High School, was the youngest attendee at the party on Oct. 27, 1989, in a wooded hangout popular to area teenagers. In the hours immediately following her disappearance, authorities suspected the girl may have run away, but later concluded that she was likely killed.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to Melanie Melanson's remains. Anyone with information on her disappearance is urged to contact the Woburn Police Department at 781-933-1212, ext. 853, or State Police assigned to the Middlesex district attorney's office at 781-897-6650.


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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:35 am

Raine, once again, thanks for keeping up on this case. It's extremely SAD!

What a beautiful girl!

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