Becky and Robert McGuinn kindly took in a special needs woman, to help teach her how to take care of her young son. March 7, 1988 Wanda Reed vanished out the back door with the McGuinn's 7 month old daughter Melissa. 8 minutes later Wanda returned alone. Melissa was never seen again.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Larry's story

Larry in 2012. Now a firefighter in Texas
I met Robert in 1982. I was 18 he was like, 22. Becky was 16. We became best friends. Robert and Becky were like a brother and sister to me.
A while after I met them, Becky got pregnant with Melissa. Right about that time, a guy talked to Robert about making some really good money at a construction job in New Jersey.
Becky lived with me and my dad for about 6 months in Texas, while Robert went to work in New Jersey.
Robert came back to Texas near the end of Becky's pregnancy, and he had found a house he wanted Melissa to grow up in once she was born. Just before Melissa's birth, Robert, Becky, and I moved up to the house in Lamberton, NJ. The woman, Wanda, and her husband were sharing the house too.
Wanda was a very different person. She always walked around with a unusually big smile on her face, and when she was upset she wouldn't say anything, her face would just get all red and she would puff out her cheeks. She was lots of times hard to understand when she spoke. I knew something was very wrong with her, and did not understand why her husband would be in a sexual relationship with her, when Wanda was clearly not mature enough to consent.
Her husband was a mean man. He would berate her, call her stupid, order her around like he was speaking to a dog. One time I told him he needed to shut his mouth, and treat his wife like a lady. He turned on me and started saying horrible things about my mother, who had died a few years before. We got into a very heated argument, because no one is allowed to insult my mother.
Wanda had been married twice, and I didn't find out until after Melissa was taken, that she had two other children with her first husband.
 Wanda's husband at the time was named Robert, and her ex-husband was named Robert too. We had two Roberts living in the home. Wanda's husband Robert, and Becky's husband Robert.
Robert, me, and Robert all worked during the day at the construction job, and Becky stayed with Melissa, and helped Wanda take care of her son.

The night before Melissa was taken, we all went to a friends house down the street. There was a lot of laughing, talking, and playing cards. Becky brought a big puzzle that we all spent most of the evening putting together.
There were several small children there, and they spent the evening playing together, including Melissa. Wanda's son was still so young, that the other children did not take interest in him.

Somewhere during the night I noticed Wanda making the red and puffed face that she did when she was angry. She mumbled something in an angry tone at the children several times, while pointing to her baby, we kind of thing she was trying to tell them to play with him too. What ever it was, she was clearly very upset about it.
Near the end of the night, Wanda stomped out of the house, very mad.

The next morning I had slept in. Both of the Roberts had left to try to work. I woke to someone at the door. Before I had time to get to my feet, my ears blared at the sound of Becky screaming at the top of her lungs. She was hysterical.
The neighbor, Linda, and Linda's husband stood by Wanda at the door, with deep concern on their faces. Wanda said she had been walking with Melissa, and Melissa had been taken.
I immediately hopped in my truck, and raced down to the construction where I found both Roberts. I told Melissa's father something had happened to her. He looked horrified as he leaped into the truck, and we raced back to the house.

By the time we got to the house, police were swarming all around.

As soon as I got there, I was grabbed by the officers and interrogated for a very long period of the day, and accused of doing something to Melissa. They wanted an easy explanation, but there was none to be given. They put all there effort into getting me or Becky to confess to something, because we were the only three home with the children, they figured we must have known something. We had no idea where Melissa was.

Wanda had always taken Melissa out on walks. It was a regular thing. She was supposed to ask to take the babies out, and she always asked permission, always. Taking one of the kids for walks was part of Becky helping her to learn to take care of a child. This day she did not ask. She was out the door without a sound. It was normal for her to take Melissa, but not normal for her to go without asking. But before anyone had time to be worried, she had returned, after telling the neighbors Melissa had been kidnapped.

The police had concluded for years that Wanda threw Melissa into the river. But I believe there is no way she got to the river and back in the time she was gone. The walk one way to the river was at least 10 minutes.

There was nothing that made sense to me, until in 2012 the cold case detective asked me if I remembered the circumstances under which Wanda received the letter from her ex husband. This was the first I had ever heard about a letter.
The detective told me that in the initial search, officers found a letter in Wanda's possession, to Wanda, from her first husband, asking her to sell him her infant son for drugs. Apparently the letter mentioned how high demand babies under the age of 1 are on the black market.

I had just heard of a woman in the New Jersey/New York area who had been arrested for stealing babies and selling them. They said her crimes went back to the 80's.

After finding out about the letter, I am left to believe Melissa was sold instead of the baby boy.
Maybe the arrangement for the sale of a baby had already been planned? I do not  believe Wanda had the intelligence to plan an abduction of the baby. But maybe something had already been in the works, and after her frustration the night before, she decided to use Melissa instead of the boy?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

False hope from Germany

In early 2012, Melissa's mother, Becky, was taunted by the lingering reminder, it had been nearly 24 years without any sign of baby Melissa's fate. She still carried Melissa's baby clothes, photos, and newspapers, where ever her job forced her to move across the United States. She would still think of Melissa and wonder, "Where is she now?"

Then the day came, when the phone rang. It was an unexpected call from Becky's son's high school. Becky was surprised to hear from the school counselor, because her son had graduated nearly a year before.
The school counselor's words would come like a punch in the gut to Becky. "A woman has contacted me." The counselor said, "It's about your daughter. She's asking how to get into contact with you. She says there has been a DNA test done, and she is Melissa."
This news would send all of the McGuinn family and friends into a whirlwind of emotions.

Could it really be her? Is she really alive? Is this 24 years agony really finally over? What's next if it is her?

The woman said that she had been raised by a couple in Germany, who had lived in Trenton at the time of Melissa's disappearance. She said the had been raised believing the couple was her biological family, but grew suspicious when she found a box with a dark pink hooded sweater, white flowered quilted overalls and pink socks. This was the same outfit Melissa was last seen wearing. 
The woman claimed she had a DNA test secretly done, and the German police contacted her, and told her that her parents were not biological, and that they had found a match from a missing child in the United States.
The woman said she looked up Melissa on the national missing children's list, and that she found the same birth mark on her arm as Melissa. 
Becky asked the woman to submit her DNA to the lead detective in New Jersey, to confirm if she was really Melissa or not. The woman said she had already contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and that she had sent her DNA sample to them.
In the next few weeks, every one was on pins and needles, anitcipating the DNA results, for whether or not this woman really was Melissa. 
Everyone who loved Melissa, added this woman to their facebook friends, and had friendly conversation with her.
Then Melissa's brother confronted her, "You had better not hurt my mom, admit it now if you are not Melissa!"
The woman would respond with hostility  and begin to berate Becky for "selling her baby to druggies." The woman then shared that she had confronted the people who raised her, and they claimed they bought Melissa from Becky, and they paid Becky with drugs. They said Wanda had nothing to do with it, and that they had just had Wanda cover for them. Melissa's brother was very upset by this.
After this heated conversation, every one grew suspicious of the woman. NCMEC was contacted, asking if the DNA tests were done yet. They said they had heard from the woman, but never recieved a DNA sample.
The woman then told Becky, she wanted to come to the United States to meet her, and then she could provide the DNA sample.
The lead investigator was contacted, and everyone's high hopes were crushed in a short time.  
 A close family friend, Cindy, caught wind of the word that the German girl was planning a trip to New Jersey.
Through some great investigative skills of her own, Cindy found the so-called German Melissa, and found out she was really a scam artist in the Netherlands. 
  Cindy contacted the Netherlands police, and told them the woman was planning to come to the United States, and that she believed the woman was scamming the missing child's family.
Netherlands authorities stopped the woman in the airport while attempting to board a USA bound plane.
She was taken into police custody to be questioned. Her DNA was taken, and sent to the investigator in New Jersey. A short while later, the results came back negative.
"When we got the results, I told myself I had been dealing with this for 25years, I could deal with it if it wasn't her. But then when I heard negative...I couldn't deal with it. I fell apart." -Becky
Netherlands police discovered the woman had been trying to use the McGuinns, to get into the United States,  where she then planned to disappear, and live the life of an illegal immigrant.
Netherlands authorities determined the woman was having a psychotic episode, that no DNA test had ever been done for her parents, and that she never really thought she may be Melissa.

The clothing in a box, and the birthmark on her arm, and her family being in New Jersey, were all lies. It was all a cruel scam!
Afterwards, the woman was involuntarily committed to a asylum, and the McGuinns are still left wondering, what happened to baby Melissa?


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The moon shines on the missing

I went out walking under the stars tonight, and I thought about Melissa, and all the other missing children of the world.
I wonder where you are. I wonder what you are doing. Are you cold, are you hungry, are you scared? Or, are you warm, are you well fed, and are you happy? But most of all I wonder, are you alive?
The moon is a symbol of hope to me. I can look up at it, and know that you can see it too. The sun and the moon are the two things all mankind share.
But the moon is escpecially touching. The moon is the light in a dark place. Just as the hope of finding you, is the light in dark circumstances.
Where ever you are in this world, we can look up at the moon, and know that those we love, those we miss, can see it too.
I hope some day you will all be found, Melissa McGuinn, Kyron Horman, Isabel Celis, Katherine Phillips, Ayla Reynolds. Until the day we have our answer to your fate, I will look up at the moon, and pray for you. Where ever you are in the world, I know you can see that bright light in the night, and I believe that light, will one day lead you home.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A request for your story

Were you in the Trenton, New Jersey area 1987-1989? We'd like to hear from you. Were you somewhere else, but remember Melissa's story? We'd like to hear from you. Did you have the joy of knowing Melissa? We'd like to hear from you. Did you know Robert or Becky McGuinn? We'd like to hear from you. Do you know/knew Robert Ashley or Wanda Reed? We'd like to hear from you.

We have set up this blog, to help the public know the details of Melissa and her disappearance. The more we can share, the more chances of finding people who have valuable information.
We'd like to share your memories regarding the case.
Nearly 25 years have passed, a lot has been forgotten, but you also may know more now than you did then.
We'd like to share on this blog, where in the world you were, when Melissa Diane McGuinn disappeared.

Please comment here, or contact us on our Facebook page,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A summary of the story of Melissa McGuinn

In early 1987 Robert Mcguinn moved with his pregnant wife Becky, and his co-worker Robert Ashley and co-worker's partner Wanda Reed, to 637 Lamberton St, Trenton, New Jersey. The two men had found work, and the company moved them into a complex together with their families.

 August 3, 1987 baby Melissa Diane McGuinn was born. 5 months later, Wanda gave birth to a son.

The McGuinn's could tell Wanda was behind developmentally, and thought she had some sort of learning disability. Becky was happy to help teach Wanda how to be a first time mother.

March 5, 1988 Baby Melissa was now 7 months old. She was crawling, and pulling herself up to try and walk on her own. Melissa was a very smart little girl, who was already speaking several words. "Up" "Down" "Hi" "Mum" "Da(dad)" "Ya(yes)"
Wanda's baby boy was now 2 months old, and seemed to be doing well with Becky's coaching on how to raise the boy.
Melissa's home
The night of March 5, the Melissa and Wanda and both of their families went to a party just down the street from their house. At the party there was another young boy, just a couple years older than Melissa. He liked playing with Melissa, and trying to teach her how to walk.
This little boy found Wanda's sleeping 2 month old baby understandably boring. Wanda was offended that this little boy did not find her son as fun as Melissa.

March 6, 1988 The McGuinn's friend Larry had laid a sleeping bag on their floor the night before. Becky discovered in the morning that the sleeping bag made it nearly impossible to open the front door.
Becky went about getting ready for the day, when Wanda asked to take Melissa and her own son down to the day room. It was a daily routine and Becky permitted it.

Becky was getting ready for the day when she heard a struggle down stairs. It was her neighbors and Wanda struggling to get the front door open because the sleeping bag was in the way.

Becky saw Wanda standing there with a neighbor....without Melissa.

Side street where Wanda was seen walking with Melissa
Several neighbors had seen Wanda with Melissa, but by the time this neighbor met with her, Wanda was alone. "Where's Melissa?!" The neighbor asked in panic. "She was with Wanda." Becky replied. Wanda swatted her hand and scoffed, "Huh uh, that baby gone."
What Wanda answered would turn Robert and Becky's happy world upside down.

"A black man pushed me down and grabbed her, then ran away."
Word would spread quickly, that the little blue eyed blonde 7 month old had been kidnapped. But the McGuinn's heart ache would only worsen when Wanda was taken in for questioning. Her story kept changing.
"I sold her for drug money to a black man in a red car." "I was mad that people liked Melissa more at the party,  so I threw her into the Delaware River." "She was in my lap sitting by a creek. She leaned over and fell in and drowned." "I traded her for drugs to the neighbor lady."
Each story was investigated, and none of them seemed to pan out. No one saw a red car, the walk to the river and creek took much longer than the time Wanda was gone, and the neighbor lady was questioned several times and police could find no blame on her. The only thing that seems possible, is either that Melissa was stashed away somewhere in the neighborhood, or Wanda had a planned meeting with someone who quickly got away with the baby.
Wanda Reed was arrested and charged with kidnapping. Every time she was asked what happened to Melissa, her story changed. Psychologists were brought in, and it was then Robert and Becky found out just how wrong they were about the woman who lived with them.

Composite of Melissa at age 16
It was determined Wanda was at the mental level of a 4 to 5 year old. She would say what ever she thought made the investigators happy. Also, Wanda's infant son was NOT her first child. Wanda had two children in the past. One was taken from her custody after the child was scalded with hot water. The other was taken after Wanda threw the child against a window, which broke the glass and cut the child.
Psychics would call with different visions of where Melissa was, and even those tips were investigated, but still, there was no sign of where on earth baby Melissa McGuinn was.

7 grueling weeks passed, with no clue where Melissa had gone. Becky sank into such a deep depression, that she became suicidal and had to be hospitalized. During her hospital stay, she found out that she had been pregnant since shortly before Melissa's kidnapping.
Becky would go the entire pregnancy with no sign of the whereabouts of her baby girl. Becky would give birth to a son, still not knowing where her daughter was. Becky's son would graduate high school, never knowing his older sister.

Because of the psychologists diagnosis of Wanda, she was deemed unfit to stand trial. Shortly after, all charges were dropped, and Wanda became a free woman. Her infant son was adopted by a family in Texas, and she and her husband broke up, and Wanda moved out of state...a free woman.

In 2008, Robert McGuinn would go to his grave, never seeing his daughter again. He never stopped missing her.

In 2012 a woman in the Netherlands contacted Melissa's mom saying she was their daughter. She shared detailed information about the case and even described the outfit Melissa was wearing and claimed she still had the outfit. Mom, Becky, had a DNA test done. Results came back negative.
"When we got the results, I told myself I had been dealing with this for 25years, I could deal with it if it wasn't her. But then when I heard negative...I couldn't deal with it. I fell apart."

After the experience with the Netherlands woman, the Cold Cases unit took over the investigation. They took new DNA samples from Melissa's family, and made a composite sketch of what Melissa may look like at 25, from Becky, and from Robert's daughter from another marriage.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First post

This is a new start at the search for Melissa...taking Melissa cyber. Melissa's story has many twists and turns that have left us always wondering, "what happened to Melissa?!" This blog will be used to try to share what we know, in hopes of producing new information from the public. Please follow along as we slowly share all the details. But for now, making a LONG story short:
 Becky and Robert McGuinn kindly took in a special needs woman, to help teach her how to take care of her young son. March 7, 1988 Wanda Reed vanished out the back door with the McGuinn's 7 month old daughter Melissa.
8 minutes later Wanda returned alone. Melissa was never seen again.