Kanawha County woman vanishes 13 years ago without a trace

West Virginia

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) – When someone goes missing families can be torn apart. Just not knowing what happened to a loved one. Here at WOWK 13 News, we’ve followed one such case involving a young woman from Belle, West Virginia for the past 13 years. 

July 19th, 2006 is a date that one local family can’t forget. “I can’t wish this on anybody,” exclaimed Catherine Moles, Melanie’s aunt.

It’s the last day any of them saw 21-year-old Melanie Metheny. “Melanie was a mother of 3, she loved her children, and she just vanished,” said Moles.

Thirteen years and thousands of tips later. “My oldest daughter looks a lot like Melanie, only she is a lot taller,” added Moles. “And, she was seen and reported as Mel.”

Like the family, law enforcement is still searching for answers.”We cannot call this a cold case because there are continuing efforts done on behalf of this case,” stated Sergeant Brian Humphreys, PIO Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.

The morning Melanie disappeared started as a normal day for her. “That morning, she woke up and took her kids to daycare and dropped them off,” Moles said. “She was supposed to be on her way to drop off transcripts at a college.”

But no one at the college ever saw her. And, she never picked up her children. Something her family says was unlike her in every way. “She was very particular and watchful over her kids,” added Moles.

Days later, her van was found on the West Side of Charleston baffling law enforcement in 2006. “There are probably more unanswered questions than there are answered,” stated Captain Sean Crosier, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department (in a 2006 interview).

And, it is equally puzzling in 2019. “Was it moved? Or was that the last place she stopped and disappeared there?,” asked Humphreys.  “We would love for the public to help us understand that.”

The family has coped by helping others. Including, fighting for Senate Bill 237 which combines missing persons into a federal database. They also formed ‘Melanie’s HOPE’ to raise awareness for her case while raising money for non-profit animal groups. This was because of Melanie’s love for rescues. 

“What does hope stand for?,” asked Abney.

“Help Our Pets Endure,” answered Moles.

“It sounds like this effort has helped you all endure as well?, ” asked Abney.

“I think it has helped her mom a whole lot,” added Moles.

But hope for this family and those investigating then and now means never giving up.

“Time in these types of investigations is certainly not on our side,” added Crosier (from 2006 interview). “But, we are still very hopeful that we can find Melanie alive and well.”

No matter how much time has passed in finding Melanie or the person responsible for her disappearance. 

“Should we find someone who needs to be prosecuted for this?,” stated Humphreys. “We’ve done everything right and that’s why so much effort was put into this case back then and continues to be put into this case today.”

Moles believes there is someone who knows exactly what happened to Melanie. And at this point, she just wants closure for her family and Melanie’s children, who are all teenagers now. And, we hope this story will in some way help them and the investigation. Sergeant Humphreys wants to remind everyone that if you know anything about this case, you can make a completely anonymous tip by calling them at 304-357-4693. You can also make a tip online. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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