Those They Left Behind: The Victims of Roy Melanson


His cabin they stopped at a gas station to put some air in the leaky tire and they had to buy some more beer because they're all out and it continued on their driver car jerked so the two men the shows with that day no surprise turned out to be Chuck Mathews in Roy Melanson so chuck gone out of the car underneath the chassis and so that Iraq had put a hole in the oil pan so michelle offered to give them in a ride in her car when they made it to town got to her car matthews got into the backseat with oak and Melanson wrote up front with Michelle Michelle drove them back to gunnison asmir thieves bonded with Oak Michelle Cherif Melanson yes it was late afternoon they arrived back at the Columbine Bar Matthews was really surprised though because then he overheard Melanson asked Michelle if she could drive him a few more blocks to where he left his truck now he hadn't even mentioned a truck Matthews Matthews didn't think he had a truck I mean if he had a truck why they've been riding around in his old terrible junker were to prove in itself untrustworthy in absolutely breaking down and leaking air and stuff that's terrible so that's a good question where we take in my old junker but he didn't say anything in Melanson told Matthews he'd be back in a while and rode off in the passenger seat of Michelle's car so matthew went into the bar but he was confused and he decided he'd wait for Melanson to come back and maybe he could give him a ride home in his truck but when Melanson and returned by nine pm matthews called a friend to pick him up and he thought that would be the last seat here this whole thing but the next morning Melanson Grove Michelle Wallace's Redman Asta station wagon to the JC penney storing gunnison and he wrote a fraudulent check to purchase a dress shirt and pants Georgia and Megan Wallace Michelle's parents were back in Chicago thinking that everything was Fine Michelle was alive and well and would be back soon they were really happy that she was going to working as a photographer in North Carolina but September second came and went without a call from Michelle and she promised Maggie that she would call her that day so Maggie called the sheriff in Gunnison to report Michelle Missing Ecorse it had only been a couple of days she was an adult so the dispatcher told her not to worry her daughter and probably just decided to camp for another day or two forgot to collar but Maggie knew better she knew Michelle and she insisted that Michelle would never do that so she persisted and she actually got the sheriff's Department to talk to her and to search scofield part so the next one warning the under sheriff went to Michelle's apartment and saw that she had never returned from her trip so they figure that Michelle could have had an accident the rugged country so the undersheriff co the crested Butte Police Department an SM to look for her car they call them back that evening saying there's no sign ever car. The Maggie's calling repeatedly she's just worried sick a massive search was started by the gunnison sheriff the crested butte police department and the Civil Air Patrol rose also many volunteers helping in the search also Michelle's remained gave the police Michelle's hairbrush I glass says to hold his evidence and this would pay off much later not right away because we're in nineteen seventy four technology and advancements in science in a long way to go through certainly did very minimal right right so it was on September six when Chuck Mathews heard about a missing girl on the radio and we heard the description of Michelle in her dog along with her last known whereabouts he knew that she was a young woman that he had met with Melanson on August thirtieth but of course all he knows about Melanson is his first name was Roy so matthews called the sheriff's department and gave them a description of Michelle of her dog and of her Red Mazda wagon the last time he had seen her was outside of the Columbine bar she drove away with a man who the only numerous Roy and this really sounded bad this made the case sound a lot worse were here it should have been less seen with a man she really didn't know right she just met no one knew who roy was or afraid even his real name then the next day ranch called the sheriff's Department to report that he had shot and killed a dog on September fourth in his dog matched oak description he'd get the thanks caller which had a tag with shells name on it and other people called until the sheriff that they'd seen the dog wandering around in the area since August thirty first again bad news because Michelle and oak had been inseparable yes she's missing in her dog is dead so it's really looking like foul play frakes but a fora was contacted after Chuck Matthews told the police that Roy had told him he had been killing coyotes for a sheep rancher in Scholefield Park Spatafora told them that he had employed Roy and he knew his last name it was worry Melanson regarded her name mill food yeah yeah but of course Melanson had left the area he had arrived in Pueblo and Michelle's Mazda on August thirty first and he had spent the night with sally the fourteen year old and got one of her sisters to drive him to where he had parked the Mazda he told her that a friend had left it there for him to us so at this point I really have to question Sally's mother Lucille Burdens judgment here what the Hell's going on it's almost like she's prostituting her daughter you know well he's kind of staying at their house it's very weird and I don't know where the father was I know he was working it didn't ever come home and see what's going on it's really strange disturbing situation that's an understatement for this time though Melanson seemed to be doing much better financially than the last time the Burton girls had seen him he had new clothes new camping equipment and a really nice camera now salad use the camp took a picture of Melanson laying on the couch behind one of her friends yes oh what's this man doing in the House with these teenage girls laying on the couch it's also creepy Dick I just don't understand it we don't have any information or any any reasons why her mother true things the way she do now I mean what I've read about the case there was always just the idea that he was such a smooth talker in so convincing but to me nobody's that convincing that you're going to let him hang around your fourteen year old weird hat royals yeah Melanson didn't stay in Pueblo very long on September eighth in Cedar Falls Iowa when he was there he joined Michelle's camera backpack and sleeping bag than in elk city Iowa he made a guy named Thurman Wilder in a bar and the two started talking while they're told him that he was a heavy equipment raider looking for a job and Melanson told him that he had a friend in Pueblo who owned a construction company and he was sure that his friend would hire wilder I think he was just trying to get a ride there I guess he was always trying to get something from someone he was with the conman are always still have was in his white Cadillac and when they got to Amarillo Texas Melanson duck the Mazda and he ended up writing the rest of the trip with wilder in the Cadillac Hitt told wilder that his car needed repairs and he was taking it to shop and they'd pick it up on the way back then on September twelfth an anonymous caller are reported a suspicious white cadillac that was hanging around a high school and the Cadillac was pulled over and Melanson said that he and Wilder just waiting to pick up Sally Burton at school which is pretty creepy right there your suit is but when Nelson's driver's license was checked the police discovered that he was wanted for rape and Texas so both Melanson and wilder were arrested and wilder gave permission for his car to be searched and the these funds several different items belonging to Michelle Wallace in the Cadillac these things included her car registration her driver's license insurance discard and also some of her camping equipment so there's no explanation that he's going to be able to give for that wouldn't appear to be so melanson was searched police found his unused best ticket from gunnison to Pueblo and found Semis two keys and two point tickets sleeping bag in a backpack then one of the offices remembered the beyond the lookout for a red monster station wagon on by Michelle while so let's solve this crime didn't we well no not really into which is a long way to go with that the Pueblo detectives are pretty sharp they contacted gunnison and learned about the search for Michelle the Amarillo police found Michelle's car it was abandoned one block from a bar recalled the hard hat lounge now the car was searched but nothing was found that would have indicated foul play so nothing they give us evidence and nothing that would help them and find Michelle of course they interviewed Melanson and he finally did admit to spending time with the Burton's and having a relationship with the teenage Sally but he denied that he'd ever had sex with sally you know they would just hanging around 'cause they had so much in common together you're just good friends sure I'll grown men have fourteen year old girl says their friends interviewed sally she told him that she hadn't Melanson in July your family's cabin and she said that she did actually have sex with him so restores here I'm thinking I'm going to bully sally absolutely he had traumatized her quite a bit and so isn't the statutory rape yes should be but you know you're gonNA find here that he really gets away with a lot for long time it's really frustrating after extensive interviews Melanson insisted on speaking to the FBI and eventually he said that he did remember Eating Michelle he said he had a drink with her in a bar and she had left her dog tied up outside then he said he'd made up an excuse to borrow her car and she had led him so he just taken off in her car and it never seen her again not very believable story no bishop since he had all her things on his position Russian was stopped that anyway we'll we'll take a story so investigators suspected Nelson in Michelle's disappearance so in three other Texas rapes and Texas murder and then the police in Louisiana also wanted to question mallets about a series of murders in their state great so it looks like he's just done a lot of crimes that he's gotten away with Chuck Mathews was brought in and he was able to identify Melanson as the man Michelle's car when he last saw them after that detectives were convinced that they had Michelle's killer but without a body the prosecutor wouldn't charge him with murder so they were kind of step yeah I mean I know this is forty five years ago so things are different because we've done some cases where they've prosecute you didn't prosecuted successfully people with nobody well it certainly can be done but you need a lot of other evidence where it sounds like they got your amount the first thing you know you have to be able to prove the person's dad that's the first obstacle where you have to be able to maybe not prove but beyond a shadow of doubt so did now same thing to me or care so searchers though they continue to look on the ground and from the for Michele Maggie and George Wallace her parents held out hope that Michelle would be found alive of course but a new about Melanson story and they knew it was a lie she wouldn't have loaned her car to a stranger but unfortunately no evidence was found that Michelle had been killed or like I said even that she was dead Maggie she'd never see her daughter again that started to set in and she fell into a really deep depression she was crying every day and people said she just looked totally lost six weeks after Michelle had disappeared the Colorado detectives asks for her dental

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