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?


  1. why would anyone in their right mind allow a mentally challenged woman to be responsible for children or babies for that matter. I'm sorry if I sound insensitive however, it just doesn't make sense. I am praying in the name of Jesus that someone somewhere has answers to these questions about where she is, amen!

    1. I'd hope that if you had read the whole article, you would see that she was not in charge of the children.

  2. Was this ex-husband ever questioned regarding the letter?

  3. How horrible for you to be interrogated by the police. I know their first step is to look at the ppl around the missing child but it still must have been awful. Thankyou for sharing your story and I send hugs your way........

  4. Unlikely, but is there a possibility Larry could be Melissa biological father?... I'm not trying to make accusations but if it is a possibility, Melissa would look much different than the composite that is floating around.

  5. Anonymous, what makes you say that?

  6. What if "Melissa" knows who she is and doesn't want to b found. Maybe she is happy with her life. And the parents who raised her have passed and she now how her own family.

  7. What if "Melissa" knows the truth about her. And the parents that raised her have passed on and she has a family of her own now and wouldn't want this drama. She can clearly see her Bio family r not that great.And she doesn't want to have to b this Melissa girl when that's not who she is.

    1. Are u Melissa ? Because if u are I would hope u could relieve ur bio mothers heart and let her at least know u are alive and well

    2. If you are melissa I think you should come forward. And just tell everyone to respect your privacy and let you live your life. I would hope that by just doing that it would put people's hearts at ease knowing that melissa isn't dead and is healthy.

  8. The above comment breaks my heart. I hope that if is Melissa who wrote it, that she has had a change of heart since then. Her biological Mother has been through a life of hell having her pride and joy stolen from her so many years ago. Who ever is responsible for causing such devastating heart ache needs to be punished to the full extent of the law. My heart breaks for this Mother and Daughter. My prayers go out to each of you.