Laura Garza -- Found Deceased 4/11/10

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Laura Garza -- Found Deceased 4/11/10

Post by Piper on Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:27 pm

Police Find Remains of Missing New York Woman in Pennsylvania

Updated April 26, 2010


Laura Garza, left and center, was last seen leaving a Manhattan nightclub in 2008 with registered sex offender Michael Mele, right


State police in Pennsylvania say they have found the body of Laura Garza, who was last seen leaving a Manhattan nightclub in 2008 with a registered sex offender.

Pennsylvania State police said a skeleton found near Scranton is that of an aspiring actress who disappeared after leaving a Manhattan nightclub more than a year ago in the company of a registered sex offender.

A DNA analysis at a state lab in Albany, N.Y., confirmed the identity of 25-year-old Laura Garza of Brooklyn.

Capt. Wayne Olson said a youngster with a group of all-terrain vehicle riders notified authorities after finding a human skeleton on April 11 in Mount Cobb, Pa., several miles outside Scranton. Investigators, crime technicians and an anthropologist recovered human remains and a wristwatch from the scene.

"DNA samples from the unidentified victim were turned over to the New York State Police and forwarded to the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center, in Albany NY, for analysis," Major Edward Raso of the New York state police said in a press release Monday. "The results of the analysis have positively identified the human remains as those of Laura Garza."

Garza left the bar on Dec. 3, 2008, with registered sex offender Michael Mele. He has been investigated but not charged in the case.

Mele is being held at Midstate state prison in Marcy, N.Y., for an unrelated offense. A board denied him parole in March, citing his "history of sexually deviant behavior."

At the parole board hearing, Mele said such behavior was a thing of the past.

"I don't want it to be part of my identity," Mele said, according to a transcript from the Division of Parole. "I don't want it to be part of who I am. I want to move forward."

Surveillance cameras at the Manhattan nightspot Marquee caught Garza leaving with Mele pre-dawn. They were also seen a couple of hours later in Newburgh, a few miles from Mele's home, driving in his Infiniti SUV.

Mele had several sex-offense convictions in Rockland County, most involving approaching women while masturbating, and he was wanted in New Jersey for similar crimes. He had been sentenced to six years' probation and police quickly locked him up for violating the terms of that parole -- he admitted drinking, he had not attended sex-offender treatment and he had not reported to his probation officer.

He was later charged with possession of stolen credit cards -- not Garza's -- and with failing to notify a sex offender registry when he moved to Wallkill.

"We certainly hope her family can move on with the grieving process," said Craig Brown, one of Mele's attorneys.

"The NYPD had indicated that Michael Mele, from the beginning, was a person of interest to the exclusion of all others. Having such tunnel vision in any case is not the most effective way to investigate crimes," Brown said.

Mele refused to talk about Garza as he became the focus of the investigation. A body check of him revealed scratches and a possible bite mark. At his apartment, police found patches of carpet that had been cut away. They searched the SUV and carried away bags of evidence for testing.

But there was no sign of Garza, who had moved to New York City with dreams of making it as a dancer. Hope that Garza would be found alive eventually evaporated.

Officers searched the apartment complex and the woods and fields around it, septic systems and trash bins, and then started beating the bushes along the interstate highway. Then, as many as 200 firefighters, police officers and volunteers spent days searching various locations in Orange and Sullivan counties in upstate New York.

Several women who had past encounters with Mele came forward, but police said they added background rather than major leads. Garza's brothers, Ivan and Nicolas, came east from Texas and posted "missing" signs with their sister's picture. When the search reached the one-month mark, they held a vigil for her in Manhattan.

"We've been in mourning since Friday, when the police told us," said a cousin, Isela Villalobos of McAllen, Texas. "It has been very difficult for the family. Laura's mother was expecting for her daughter to come in the door until that dream was shattered Friday afternoon."

"All we do is think of Laura. We have moments when we cry. We have moments when we laugh," Villalobos said in a phone interview from her restaurant in Mission, Texas. "Nothing has changed in her home in McAllen."

Garza will be buried in Texas. "She will be coming home," her cousin said.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/04/26/police-body-missing-new-york-woman-pennsylvania/
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Re: Laura Garza -- Found Deceased 4/11/10

Post by Justice4all on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:48 am

Sex Offender Charged In Garza Murder

Orange County DA Warns Family: Indictment Not A Conviction
December 8, 2010 7:50 PM

NEW YORK (CBS 2 / 1010 WINS/ WCBS 880) – More than two years after an aspiring dancer vanished, charges were finally filed Wednesday in her murder. A grand jury indicted convicted sex offender Michael Mele.


Read more: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/12/08/mele-may-be-indicted-in-garza-murder-wednesday/
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Re: Laura Garza -- Found Deceased 4/11/10

Post by Justice4all on Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:42 pm

McAllen native Laura Garza's alleged killer on trial in N.Y.

Aunt: There isn't a day I don't think of her

January 15, 2012 6:05 PM
Jared Taylor
The Monitor

~Snipped~

The case is familiar to many people beyond Garza’s loved ones.

Authorities have said she left a New York City nightclub with convicted sex offender Michael Mele in the early morning hours of Dec. 3, 2008. She was last seen departing with Mele in a town north of the city.

No one would hear from Garza for 16 months, until her skeletal remains were discovered in a wooded area near Mount Cobb, Pa., about 120 miles northwest of New York City.

Mele was indicted on two counts of second-degree murder, counts of first- and second-degree manslaughter and four counts of tampering with physical evidence in December 2010.


Read more: http://www.themonitor.com/news/mcallen-58006-garza-killer.html
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Re: Laura Garza -- Found Deceased 4/11/10

Post by Ann - Tx on Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:53 am


January 23, 2012 11:15 AM

CBS News - Crimesider

Suspect in Laura Garza murder pleads guilty moments before trial begins




Michael Mele (AP Photo) and Laura Garza (Personal Photo)


(CBS/AP) GOSHEN, N.Y. - Convicted sex offender Michael Mele has admitted to killing aspiring dancer Laura Garza just before the start of his murder trial Monday.

Read more:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57363904-504083/suspect-in-laura-garza-murder-pleads-guilty-moments-before-trial-begins/
~~~~~

Complete coverage of the Laura Garza case can be read here. Numerous articles to click on!


http://www.cbsnews.com/crimesider/?keyword=laura+garza
CBS News - Crimesider



Last edited by Ann - Tx on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Laura Garza -- Found Deceased 4/11/10

Post by Ann - Tx on Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:54 am


http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57391603-504083/new-york-sex-offender-michael-mele-gets-23-years-in-prison-for-laura-garzas-death/
CBS News - Crimesider -- 3/6/12

New York sex offender Michael Mele gets 23 years in prison for Laura Garza's death


Last edited by Ann - Tx on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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True crime TV show will feature the Laura Garza case

Post by Ann - Tx on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:05 pm


http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130310/NEWS/303100322
Recordonline.com (Times Herald-Record) Middletown, NY -- 3/10/13

Snipped:

Orange Confidential: True-crime TV show will feature Garza case

Published: 2:00 AM - 03/10/13

The Laura Garza slaying will be the subject of an episode of a new true-crime series, "Dead of Night," airing at 10 p.m. Tuesday on the Investigation Discovery channel. (That's Channel 125 on Time Warner, 171 on Optimum, 285 on DirecTV, 192 on DISH Network, and 123 on Verizon FIOS).

Garza, an aspiring dancer from a small Texas town, moved to New York City in 2008. One night in December of that year, she went out dancing with friends, and had the bad fortune to meet Michael Mele, of the Town of Wallkill.

She left the Manhattan club with him and one of his friends; then she disappeared.

Police searched Mele's apartment for evidence. They searched alongside highways, in the woods and in ponds, looking for Laura or some clue to her fate.

Finally, in April 2010, Laura's skeletal remains were found in the woods near Olyphant, Pa.

Months later, Mele was indicted on murder charges. He would eventually plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter in exchange for a 23-year prison sentence.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office struck the bargain in the face of a case that was clearly homicide, but because of the condition of the remains, there was no way to prove the cause of death, and no way to show intention to prove a murder case.

According to Investigation Discovery, the episode will feature interviews with Laura's mother, Elizabeth Esquivel, Laura's friends, New York State Police Investigator Jan Golding, Senior Assistant District Attorney Kelle Grimmer, and others.
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New TV series premieres Tuesday, 3/12/13 on Investigation Discovery channel - Laura Garza case to be featured

Post by Ann - Tx on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:27 pm


Investigation Discovery channel:

New show, "Dead of Night", season premieres Tuesday, 3/12/13, at 10 pm EDT/9 pm CDT

http://investigation.discovery.com/tv-shows/dead-of-night
Video preview: Investigation Discovery - Dead of Night - Conflicting Stories (Laura Garza case)


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Article/video from January, 2012

Post by Ann - Tx on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:02 pm


This article and video was posted on 1/19/12 to KRGV's website. Includes an interview with Isela Villalobos, Laura Garza's aunt.

KRGV is in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas with their station located in Weslaco, TX near McAllen, TX.
~~~~~

http://www.krgv.com/news/family-of-laura-garza-plan-to-attend-accused-killer-s-trial/
KRGV - Weslaco, TX (Rio Grande Valley) - Posted: Jan 19, 2012 10:54 PM Updated: Jan 20, 2012 6:53 AM

Family of Laura Garza Plan To Attend Accused Killer's Trial
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Re: Laura Garza -- Found Deceased 4/11/10

Post by Ann - Tx on Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:51 am


Cable TV show to dramatize homicide of McAllen native Laura Garza



Michael Mele was sentenced to prison
for the murder of McAllen native Laura Garza.



Posted: Monday, March 11, 2013 4:01 am

by Jacqueline Armendariz | The Monitor
McAllen,TX


The tragic story of the pretty, young McAllen woman whose life was cut short soon after she moved to the glitz of New York City will air on television Tuesday.

Investigation Discovery, Time Warner Cable channel 271, will feature Laura Garza’s story in an episode of its “Dead of Night” series at 9 p.m. The 25-year-old disappeared in December 2008 after leaving a Manhattan nightclub with Michael Mele, a sex offender from New York. The show will feature interviews with Garza’s family, her roommate, New York media and law enforcement who investigated the case.

“It was very important because we went through so much with her investigation, with recovering her remains,” said Isela Villalobos, Garza’s aunt who was interviewed for the program. “It’s important to have a story about her so everybody gets to know who she really was.”


Read more:

http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/article_b8854f9e-89c5-11e2-9a01-001a4bcf6878.html?photo=0
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