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A 14-Year-Old Girl Went Missing In The Woods During A Party In 1989. She's Still Not Been Found Three Decades Later.

Source: National Center For Missing And Exploited Children; Unsplash

May 3 2022, Published 2:33 p.m. ET

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A 14-year-old girl in Massachusetts went missing in 1989 after going to a party. More than three decades later, she still hasn't been found.

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Melanie Melanson, who would be 42 today, has not been heard since she went missing on Oct. 27, 1989, in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Malanson was the youngest of a dozen kids who gathered in the woods for a party that October night. The others were older teens who had been there several times, according to ABC News.

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Det. Mike Randolph, who investigated the case, said the kids would participate gather to drink while underage.

"Kids would gather, kids would hang out, and um, and drink," Pandolph told ABC News in 2009, the 20-year anniversary of her disappearance.

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Melanson was a freshman at the time and just about to turn 15 years old.

"Her birthday was coming. She was getting her braces off. All kinds of things that were very exciting," Prosecutor Marian Ryan said for the 20-year anniversary story.

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Police and some family members believe Melanson never made it out of the woods. Her aunt, Ruth Townsend, however, is still holding out hope.

"It's too many years, too many years," Townsend told ABC News in 2009. "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."

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Melanson grew up under difficult circumstances. Her parents were both substance abusers who fought constantly, ABC News reported. Melanson ran away once, 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," Woburn District Attorney Gerry Leone told ABC News in 2009. "She had cousins, aunts, and it was a very nice upbringing, despite her own biological parents having problems."

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On Oct. 27, 1989, Melanson and her friend, Carmen Gonzalez, left high school and walked home. Melanson told her grandmother she was going to a friend's house next door to sleep over, though she didn't mention the party, according to ABC News.

Kids at the party told police that earlier in the hours of Saturday morning the party dwindled, and everyone went home. Everyone except Melanson, it was later revealed.

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Later Saturday, Melanson's family reported her missing to police, who conducted a massive manhunt that came up empty, ABC News reported.

"You know, it's the most difficult thing in the world," MaryAnn Masciulli, another of Melanie's aunts told the news outlet. "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."

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Police interviewed the kids who believed to be the last ones to see Melanson and they said she was the last girl at the party.

"It went to five boys and Melanie, and two boys and Melanie," Leone told ABC News.

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Two boys were questioned, but they were never charged.

Leone believes there was foul play involved, ABC News noted.

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"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.

Investigators returned to the area to search in 2012 but once again came away empty, ABC News reported.

"She was left in the woods by most of the partygoers with two to three individuals, one or all of them had something to do with this," private investigator Michael Garrigan told "We just want to figure out what happened. We've heard a lot of stories over the years, a lot of reasons why and possibilities, but until we find her, we won't have the truth."


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