Investigators Believe Missing Girl's Remains in Woburn, Mass. Woods

(NECN: Eileen Curran, Woburn, Mass.) - A renewed search is going on right now in Massachusetts for clues in a decades old cold case.

Melanie Melanson disappeared in 1989 after a party in the woods on the outskirts of town.

Shovels, buckets and sand sifters stand at the ready, as forensic crews prepare to comb through a wooded area in Woburn, Mass.

“We have a lot of reasons to feel confident about this,” said Mike Garrigan.

Garrigan is the private investigator who has spearheaded the search for Melanie Melanson. He said evidence over the past year has led them to believe Melanie’s remains are in these woods.

“It started with tips that led us here,” said Garrigan. “Then about...nine months ago, we did some soil samples. They came back positive for human (decomposition). Then we did some dog searches here four to five months ago and they came back all positive hits.”

Melanie was last seen with friends in some woods in Woburn back in 1989.

Over the years, two grand juries have heard evidence in the case, but no charges were ever filed.
There have been numerous searches, but Melanie remained missing.

Family members have resigned themselves to the fact Melanie is gone. They hope someone comes forward with answers.

“We really just wish that those who know, would just come clean and speak the truth to help us find Melanie and bring her home, said Mary Ann Masciulli, Melanie’s aunt in an interview last month.”

Two teams of forensics experts will dig in a 30-40 feet square area.

“They’ll be combing it mostly by hand tools,” said Garrigan. “We’re not talking shovels, backhoes, we might have one machine in there to do some light stuff, but for the most part this is going to be all human power.”

The dig is expected to take one to two days. Two Woburn police detectives will be on scene, but Chief Robert Ferullo said they are there in an advisory capacity only. He said this is still a “private” search.

The difference is, a private search is not subject to the same restrictions as a police search. If the group finds anything, police will then take over the scene.

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