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13-Year-Old Girl Stays Home Sick From School, Mysteriously Vanishes
Aired February 21, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Vanished into thin air.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look for her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just need to kind her.
GRACE: So many cases --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re still looking.
GRACE: -- so few leads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Missing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.
GRACE: Missing person.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s our duty to find her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The witness had seen the suspect on NANCY GRACE.
GRACE: There is a God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The NANCY GRACE show was out there for us.
GRACE: Found alive.
Fifty people, 50 days, 50 nights.
Let`s don`t give up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): By all accounts she was a talented, bright student on the honor roll at her middle school and well on her way to possibly being a great teacher one day. But on a day home from school, sick because of a sore throat, Rachel Mellon`s life would change forever. On January 31, 1996, the 13-year-old disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Rachel Mellon stayed home sick from school with her step dad, Vince Mellon. Mellon reportedly tells police he plays video games with the seventh grader until about 2:30 in the afternoon, when she takes a nap. That`s when Vince Mellon reportedly says he took the family dog on a walk for about a half hour. The dog reportedly gets loose off the leash, and figuring the dog will find its way home, Vince Mellon arrives back at the house about 30 minutes later.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Vince Mellon came home he apparently never checked on Rachel. And it wasn`t until her sister returned later that day anyone realized Rachel was gone.
The 13-year-old was missing from her bedroom, along with a blanket and pillows. State police and the FBI have searched by air, land and water for any sign of the 13-year-old honor student.
During the search and investigation cops took blood, hair and saliva from step dad Vince Mellon. And as recent as 2000, he was called to testify before a secret grand jury, along with Rachel`s mother. No one has been charged and no one has seen 13-year-old Rachel Mellon since that freezing day on January 31, 1996.
GRACE: Every day 2,300 people go missing in America. Disappear. Vanish.
Families left waiting, wondering, hoping, but never forgetting. And neither have we.
Fifty people, 50 days. Fifty nights we go live, spotlighting America`s missing. Boys, girls, mothers, fathers, grandparents gone, but where?
January `96, 13-year-old honor student Rachel Mellon loves science and music. That day the seventh grader has a sore throat, stays home from school with step dad Vince Mellon.
Mellon tells cop they played Nintendo. And when Rachel naps around 2:30, he leaves the house, subzero temperatures, to walk the family`s German Shepherd. Gets back 30 minutes later.
But when Rachel`s sister gets home from school, only then is it realized Rachel`s gone, not in her room. Even then no one calls police until mommy gets home, home from work at 5:00.
Her daughter`s pillows and blankets taken, but no forced entry. Rachel without a coat, shoes or money.
The search ensues by air, land and water. Not a trace of Rachel.
Tonight, where is 13-year-old Rachel Mellon?
Jean Casarez, what happened?
JEAN CASAREZ, CO-HOST: It all happened the last day of January, 1996. It was January 31, 1996.
Rachel Mellon, she was a middle school student in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and she stayed home that day because she had a sore throat. Well, her stepfather, Vince Mellon, he wasn`t working at the time, so he was there with her. He said that he left mid afternoon to go walk the dog and he left the front door open. When he came back, she was absolutely gone.
I want to go to Kathy Chaney, Web editor from the chicagodefender.com joining us tonight from Chicago, Illinois.
Kathy, from what we know, what left with her? What did she take with her when she left the home, Rachel Mellon?
KATHY CHANEY, WEB EDITOR, CHICAGODEFENDER.COM: She absolutely just took -- if she took this -- she took the blanket that she was wrapped in, the two pillows, no coat, no shoes, no purse, no Walkman, no nothing. She`s just gone.
CASAREZ: OK. So the blanket and the pillow. So no coat at all?
CHANEY: No coat, no shoes, no purse, no Walkman, which she usually has. She`s just gone, and it`s brutal weather outside.
CASAREZ: Look how beautiful she is. You know, we did a little investigation, Kathy. Do you know what the temperature was that day? It was 20 below zero in Illinois in that area.
I want to go out to Marlaina Schiavo, NANCY GRACE producer, joining us from New York. I really want to look at the timeline this day, because I think it can give us a lot of information.
First of all, she was in middle school, but she stayed home. She didn`t go to school.
MARLAINA SCHIAVO, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: She didn`t go to school. She had a sore throat. And her stepfather was home with her, as you said.
Around 12:00 or 12:30 in the afternoon, she had a phone call with one of her grandparents. They had a conversation. Everything was fine.
And then the stepfather says that he left to go walk the dog. The timeline there is a little shaky. Some say 2:00. Other people -- he`s also told other people 2:30.
At some point he comes home around 3:00. That`s around the time the other kids in the home came home from school. He said he didn`t notice that Rachel was missing, but the younger girl, the daughter, did say that she did notice Rachel missing, but she didn`t tell anybody until 5:00, when the mother got home. And about 6:00 p.m. is when they called the police to say that Rachel was missing.
CASAREZ: All right.
Joining us tonight are some very special guests. First of all, Jeff Skemp. He is Rachel Mellon`s father, the biological father of Rachel.
Your daughter is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
You lived in Dallas, Texas, at the time, but you almost immediately moved back to Illinois when your daughter went missing. Right?
JEFF SKEMP, FATHER OF RACHEL MELLON: Yes. That`s correct. I initially came back to Chicago the weekend after she disappeared, but went back to Dallas. But it was about six months later I permanently moved back to Chicago.
CASAREZ: When you first went back when you heard your daughter was missing, did you have a conversation with the last person to see her alive, her stepfather, Vincent Mellon?
SKEMP: Yes. I spent most of that weekend actually at their house. We passed out flyers. We went for walks. There was a lot of remote area close to her house. We walked through the brush and basically spent most of the --
CASAREZ: What did Vincent Mellon tell you? What did he tell you when you said to him, my daughter went missing on your watch, what happened to her?
SKEMP: He says, "I don`t know what happened." He says, "I was out, and when I came back she was gone." He said, "Somebody came in and snatched her."
And I -- you know, at that point, you know, I really didn`t know a lot of the facts and didn`t know a lot of things, so I basically took him at his word, although it was very suspicious to me.
CASAREZ: Did you talk to the sister of Rachel who had come home that afternoon that realized her sister was missing? Did she really not say anything to anybody? Did she know her sister had stayed home from school that day?
SKEMP: No, I did not talk to Ashley (ph).
Joining us tonight is the private investigator who has worked on this case since 1996, Cindy Georgantas, private investigator, joining us tonight from Lemont, Illinois.
Thank you very much.
First of all, have there been officially any suspects or persons of interest in this case? And if so, who?
CINDY GEORGANTAS, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: There have been many persons of interest which we are still in the process of investigating them. And to this day, after 15 years, we still periodically get leads or tips which we follow through on.
CASAREZ: All right. I want to ask you -- you, in your possession, had at one point -- you originally represented and did work for the -- Amy and Vincent Mellon, the mother and stepfather. Correct?
GEORGANTAS: That is absolutely correct. They came to me on February 12th of 1996, to my office, which at that time was in Longport, in which I took the case.
CASAREZ: And did --
GEORGANTAS: There`s something I need to clarify though.
GEORGANTAS: The day Rachel went missing, the call to her grandmother she placed at 10:45 a.m. It wasn`t after 12:00. It was 10:45.
CASAREZ: OK. All right.
GEORGANTAS: And she only talked to her for, like, four to five minutes.
CASAREZ: So the last time that anyone other than her stepfather heard her voice alive would be at 10:45 a.m., her grandparents in Texas.
GEORGANTAS: That`s right. Lucy Skemp, her grandmother. That`s correct.
CASAREZ: What did she say in that four-to-five-minute call?
GEORGANTAS: She was just calling and talking to the grandmother. Apparently, she received a letter in the mail from her grandmother. And she did call her at that time.
But from the notes that I have and the documentation from the case was that -- in a moment Rachel got very quiet, and Rachel`s grandmother asked, "Is he there?" And Rachel said, "Yes." And right after that she had to hang up.
So she did talk to her grandmother, and her grandmother said that Rachel sounded fine at that time.
CASAREZ: To Marc Klaas, president and founder of KlaasKids Foundation, joining us from San Francisco.
Let`s look at the timeline, Marc. We`ve got 11:45 a.m., the last time this girl was ever heard from by one other than her stepfather. And there is a window there, because her sister gets home from school about 3:15 or so.
Look at that broad window that she is alone with the stepfather. And he has never been charged in this case, but she is alone.
MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Well, yes, she`s alone. And I think, first of all, we can discount the idea that she would have run away.
She was a sick little girl and it was 20 degrees below zero. I don`t want to mince words here. I believe, from everything that I`ve read, that the stepfather is singly and totally responsible for this girl`s disappearance.
And I think as we go through this, we will realize that he has a history of domestic violence, that by her mother`s own words, he pushed the mother down a stairway and threatened the little girl. Per her diary, he inappropriately touched her. He refused to give DNA. It could only be secured through subpoenas, and he --
CASAREZ: And we want everybody to know that we have tried to reach Vincent Mellon. He has not been able to be contacted.
UNIDENTIFIED MAL (voice-over): Who took 13-year-old honor student Rachel Mellon? The seventh grader stays home sick from school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her stepfather, home that day taking care of Rachel, says he left her taking a nap to walk the family dog.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Vince Mellon came home, he apparently never checked on Rachel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shortly after that, Rachel`s half sister comes home from school and sees that Rachel`s missing, but reportedly doesn`t tell anyone. It`s not until hours later when mom, Amy, returns home from work and realizes her daughter is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened to Rachel Mellon after that remains a mystery. Rachel`s family is desperate for answers while local police and the FBI continue to investigate Rachel`s disappearance, saying the case remains an active and open investigation.
CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez.
Rachel Mellon, such a beautiful young lady, she had just become a teenager, 13 years old. She was in middle school and she loved it. She was a straight-A student. She loved sciences. She loved the environment at her young age, and really wanted to go into that area of science.
I want to go out to the private investigator that has worked on this case from the beginning. Cindy Georgantas joining us from Lemont, Illinois.
Cindy, what I want to really ask you is, the half sister that came home from school realized her sister was missing. Did you ever speak with her personally? Is it true that she didn`t tell the stepfather that Rachel was gone?
GEORGANTAS: I interviewed Ashley (ph) and Jason Mellon with the mother present because they were minors. And at the time they told me that when they came home from school, she ran right to Rachel`s room and apparently had told the stepfather, Vince Mellon, that Rachel wasn`t there. And nothing was done.
They told me that he was working in the garage the whole time. And I know Amy Mellon came home around 5:00, and the other two children more or less just were playing Nintendo by themselves on the couch.
CASAREZ: OK. So, Cindy, what you`re saying is that -- and this is what I was driving at, because there`s such a time lapse before anyone calls to report her missing. So you`re saying that this little girl -- and what was she, 6 years old at the time? She was much younger.
GEORGANTAS: She was around 6 years old at the time, yes.
CASAREZ: OK. So she comes home from school. You spoke with her. She says she did tell Vincent Mellon that Rachel wasn`t there.
CASAREZ: All right.
We`re taking your calls tonight.
Marie in New Jersey.
MARIE, NEW JERSEY: Hi. How are you?
CASAREZ: I`m fine.
MARIE: My heart goes out to the family. I was just wondering, did the stepfather ever take a polygraph test?
CASAREZ: I think he did, Marie. Do you have another question? We`ll go into that.
MARIE: Yes. And did she, like, have a boyfriend, actually, like, taking underground or whatever? Because I know my son, when he was kidnapped, his father had taken him away and given him to other people. And it took me 13 years to find him.
Is there, like, any way -- did the stepfather give her away to somebody to hide her out and, you know, something happened to her then or - -
CASAREZ: Let`s ask that question. You know, Marie, I`m so sorry you went through those 10 years. But you actually found your child alive?
MARIE: I found him. It took me 13 years, but yes, he is home. There is a God.
CASAREZ: Marie, it gives me chills. It gives me chills. That`s wonderful.
Let us go to Jeff Skemp, who is the biological father of beautiful, beautiful Rachel, joining us tonight from Chicago.
First of all, did she have any boyfriends? She was only 13.
SKEMP: I think it was strictly at the talking stage. I know she did not have any serious boyfriends, no.
CASAREZ: All right. Has the theory been looked at that someone took her from the home and gave her to someone else?
SKEMP: Yes, there was. I mean, it was -- my ex-wife, Amy, is from the Philippines. They`ve looked into that possible link, that maybe she went to -- went with family members to the Philippines. That was looked into rather extensive extensively.
They searched the house for, you know, prints and forced entry and scuff marks on the carpet. And they found nothing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirteen-year-old Rachel Mellon disappeared from her Bolingbrook, Illinois, home on January 31, 1996. Rachel stayed home from school that day because she didn`t feel well. She was taking a nap when her father went out to walk the family dog. That was the last time anybody saw Rachel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirteen-year-old Rachel Mellon disappeared from her Bolingbrook, Illinois, home on January 31, 1996. Rachel stayed home from school that day because she didn`t feel well. She was taking a nap when her father went out to walk the family dog.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Vince Mellon came home he apparently never checked on Rachel. And it wasn`t until her sister returns later that day anyone realized Rachel was gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two pillows and a blanket missing, but no sign of forced entry into the home. Rachel`s step dad reportedly says he left the front door unlocked. Who took beautiful seventh grader Rachel Mellon?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: 1996, Rachel Mellon -- look at her, look at these pictures. We also have some age progression pictures that we want you to look at, because have you seen her at all?
Marc Klaas touched on this a minute ago and I want to go into it. You`re not going to believe this. She left a diary, and that diary was collected after she went missing.
To Cindy Georgantas, the investigator that has been on this case, coming to us from Lemont, Illinois.
Talk to us, what was in that diary?
GEORGANTAS: In her journal -- Rachel kept a journal, and she had many notes, many letters. And this was public knowledge after we received it.
Rachel had wrote in her journal August 7 of `95 about her stepfather, and she was more or less saying that she was trying to communicate to him about how she hated being cooped up in the house all day, and then he said not to worry about it. And then apparently she was saying that he did not rape her but he was touching her to teach her a lesson, that this is what should not ever be done until she got older.
CASAREZ: When did police get that diary?
GEORGANTAS: I believe it was in March of the year 2000.
CASAREZ: Four years later? Why did it take four years for police to get the journal?
GEORGANTAS: You know, I don`t -- I can`t answer that. That`s a question you`ll have to ask them.
I had, you know, notes to her friends, and I also had collected and documented the nail polish that she was painting her nails in school, like a couple days before she went missing. It was glitter nail polish.
So they have everything now. They have everything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State police and the FBI have searched by air, land and water for any sight of the 13-year-old honor student. While police say this is an open and active case, they are hoping for the public`s help to develop leads that could bring Rachel home. Where is Rachel Mellon?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Vanished into thin air.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look for her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just need to find her.
GRACE: So many cases.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re still looking.
GRACE: So few leads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Missing.
GRACE: Missing person.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s our duty to find her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The witness seen the suspect on Nancy Grace.
GRACE: There is a God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy Grace show was out there for us.
GRACE: Found. Alive. 50 people, 50 days, 50 nights. Let`s don`t give up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By all accounts, she was a talented, bright student on the honor roll at her middle school and well on her way to possibly being a great teacher one day, but on a day home from school, sick because of a sore throat, Rachel Mellon`s life would change forever. On January 31st, 1996, the 13-year-old disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rachel Mellon stayed home sick from school with her step dad, Vince Mellon. Mellon reportedly tells police he plays video games with the seventh grader until about 2:30 in the afternoon when she takes a nap. That`s when Vince Mellon reportedly says he took the family dog on a walk for about a half hour. The dog reportedly gets loose off the leash, and figuring the dog will find its way home, Vince Mellon arrives back at the house about 30 minutes later.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Vince Mellon came home, he apparently never checks on Rachel, and it wasn`t until her sister returns later that day anyone realized Rachel was gone. The 13-year-old was missing from her bedroom, along with a blanket and pillows.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State police and the FBI have searched by air, land, and water for any sight of the 13-year-old honor student.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the search, an investigation, cops took blood, hair, and saliva from step dad, Vince Mellon. And as recent as 2000, he was called to testify before a secret grand jury along with Rachel`s mother. No one has been charged, and no one has seen 13-year-old Rachel Mellon since that freezing day on January 31st, 1996.
GRACE: Every day, 2,300 people go missing in America, disappear, vanish. Families left waiting, wondering, hoping, but never forgetting and neither have we. Fifty people, 50 days, 50 nights we go live, spotlighting America`s missing, boys, girls, mothers, fathers, grandparents, gone, but where?
January 1996, 13-year-old honor student, Rachel Mellon, loves science and music. That day, the seventh grader has a sore throat, stays home from school with step dad, Vince Mellon. Mellon tells cops they play Nintendo, and when Rachel naps around 2:30, he leaves the house, subzero temperatures, to walk the family`s German Shepherd, gets back 30 minutes later. But when Rachel`s sister gets home from school, only then is it realized Rachel`s gone. Not in her room.
Even then, no one calls police until mommy gets home, home from work at 5:00. Her daughter`s pillows and blankets taken, but no forced entry. Rachel without a coat, shoes, or money. The search ensues by air, land and water. Not a trace of Rachel. Tonight, where is 13-year-old Rachel Mellon? So, Jean, let`s go back through the timeline. Start at the beginning.
JEAN CASAREZ, LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": You know, this all really begins on the morning of January 31st, 1996. She doesn`t go to school, but she makes a phone call, and that`s at 10:45 a.m., we have now learned to her grandparents. She talks to them for about four to five minutes. It`s a short call, buy hat`s the last known time that anybody other than her stepfather hears her voice.
Well, she goes on to be in the home that day with her stepfather. He didn`t have any work at the time, but he says it was around 2:00, 2:30ish, the times vary because there are some inconsistencies in stories. He goes and takes the dog for a walk. The dog gets out of its leash, so he comes back to the home thinking the dog will find its way back home, but he doesn`t check on Rachel because she`s taking a nap, and it`s not until the mother comes home from work, 5:00, 5:30 that that call is made.
I want to go out to Marlaina Schiavo, NANCY GRACE producer joining us tonight from New York. OK. Let`s go over again. What was missing from the home when Rachel Mellon went missing?
MARLAINA SCHIAVO, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: There were two pillows that were in her bedroom along with a blanket. There was also a pair of slippers, but what`s significant here is that the things that were left behind which was her purse, she didn`t have a coat. We know it was 20 degrees out that day, and we know that she wasn`t wearing all her jewelry. She left behind a necklace that she would normally wear, and she was only wearing one of the rings that she normally does.
CASAREZ: Right. And with wind chill 20 below zero, it was one of the most frigid points of temperature for Illinois in their recent history. To Kathy Chaney, web director from chicagodefender.com, joining us from Illinois, this case went to grand jury. Witnesses heard testimony. That was in the year 2000, is that right?
KATHY CHANEY, WEB EDITOR, CHICAGODEFENDER.COM: Correct.
CASAREZ: Do we know anything about how many witnesses testified? I know it`s a secret grand jury, but I know you can find out things. Who testified, do we think?
CHANEY: I`m sorry. We don`t have an exact number of people who testified. Of course, the stepfather, the mother and, you know, the surprising thing is that they walked away with no charges against anyone.
CASAREZ: No charges against anyone. To Peter Elikann, defense attorney, joining us from Boston. He`s author of "Super Predators." This case went to grand jury, and from what we understand, Amy Mellon answered questions before the grand jury for several hours. We believe that Vincent Mellon was there for about five minute, that he took the fifth. And we can ask Jack Kemp, Rachel Mellon`s father, if he testified.
I believe he did if he will shed any light on that at all. No charges at all. So much information they had. They had the diary at that point, but what were they missing? They were missing the link, weren`t they? And remember, he is not a suspect. He`s never been charged.
PETER ELIKANN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. And you know, it`s like -- I agree with what Marc Klaas said earlier. All the evidence seems to point to the stepfather. It certainly doesn`t -- it just smells fishy, you know, that he has this long history of domestic violence, hurting family members. He`s the only one there. He seems evasive.
Taking the fifth, you know, also just seemed like he was being evasive, and yet, I don`t know that -- even though everything points to him, it`s a common sense thing. I don`t know that, legally, they really just had enough to nail him. I think it was just very frustrating to them even though all common sense would say this just doesn`t pass the smell test.
CASAREZ: You know, you talk about domestic violence. Well, we pulled his record, and Vincent Mellon definitely does have a record. It centers around domestic abuse. In august of 2006, he was charged with three counts of domestic battery, one count of battery, pled guilty, served 25 days in jail, domestic battery charge in 2003, a DUI in 2005.
But to Kathy Chaney, web editor of chicagodefender.com., I think what is most relevant for our purposes in this case is 1993, three years before Rachel Mellon went missing, Amy went, asked for, and received a restraining order against her husband. Why?
CHANEY: Just for some, you know, incidences that happened within the marriage. She was scared. I mean, scared for her children, and she needed to do what she needed to do to protect herself.
CASAREZ: Well, we pulled those records, too, and what they are telling us is that she alleged at the time that her husband hit her, pushed her down the stairs in front of the children, and verbally abused their oldest daughter, which was Rachel. 1993.
Tonight, please help us find missing woman, Darlene Webb, 20 years old. She vanishes January 22nd, 1983, from Daytona Beach, Florida. She`s a white female, 5`9", 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. If you have any information, please call 386-671-5100.
If your loved ones are missing and you need help, go to CNN.com/nancygrace. Send us your story. We want to help you find your loved ones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On January 131st, 1996, 13-year-old Rachel Mellon was inside her family`s home in Bolingbrook, Illinois. A lover of science and an honor roll student, Rachel had stayed home from school that day because she was sick. Step-father, Vince Mellon, who was in between jobs was also home with Rachel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mellon reportedly tells police he plays video games with the seventh grader until about 2:30 in the afternoon when she takes a nap. That`s when Vince Mellon reportedly says he took the family dog on a walk for about a half hour. The dog reportedly gets loose off the leash, and figuring the dog will find its way home, Vince Mellon arrives back at the house 30 minutes later.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it wasn`t until her sister returns later that day anyone realized Rachel was gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Look at those eyes. Look at that smile. She`s just lovely. To Cindy Georgantas, the private investigator that`s worked on this case from the beginning. Talk to us about what was found under Rachel`s bed.
VOICE OF CINDY GEORGANTAS, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: During the police investigation, which I know is now out in the public, they found a book, and I believe a knife, steak knife, and there was a book that was called "Daddy`s Kiss."
CASAREZ: All right. "Daddy`s Kiss." To Michelle Golland, psychologist and expert on momlogic.com joining us from Los Angeles. Put this together for us, and her, we want to say that Vincent Mellon, we have tried to locate him. We cannot locate him. We want his side of the story. We know he disputes very strongly any sexual abuse or assault of Rachel, but Michelle, put this together for us.
A journal that talks about a unwanted touching from a step-father because the stepfather says this is what you don`t want done to you. A book under the bed called "Daddy`s Kiss." and a knife?
MICHELLE GOLLAND, PSY.D., PSYCHOLOGIST: Right. You know, I have to agree with the other gentleman here, and what it seems to me is that, clearly, there was something happening within that home that was unsafe. I have worked with clients who have been physically and sexually abused, and there have been more than one occasion where they keep a weapon under their bed for fear of being harmed and wanting to protect themselves.
CASAREZ: With us tonight, Jeff Skemp, who is the biological father of Rachel Mellon, who left his home in Texas, moved to Illinois, almost immediately when his daughter went missing. Mr. Skemp, did you know what allegedly was going on within that home?
JEFF SKEMP, FATHER OF MISSING 13-YEAR-OLD GIRL, RACHEL MELLON: Beforehand, no. It -- I was always suspicious, and I would ask Rachel, is everything okay between you and Vince? And she would always say, yes. Rachel was a people pleaser. Rachel, if you look at her pictures, she`s always smiling and happy and she wanted everybody else to be happy, too.
So, she didn`t want, I don`t think, to let her problems out. And, obviously, if I would have known what was going on in that house, I -- I would have fought for her without a doubt.
CASAREZ: Why do you think that diary didn`t get into the hands of the Bolingbrook Police four years after she went missing?
SKEMP: I don`t know. They knew of the diary because they had discussed it with me. The dates are all a little hazy. I do remember when the grand jury investigation was, and they had knowledge of that diary ahead of time. Whether they had it in their hands or not, I don`t know.
CASAREZ: What do you think happened here?
SKEMP: Well, I wasn`t there. I will say that I have always been very suspicious of Vince. I feel like if he really doesn`t have anything to hide, why has he refused to cooperate with the investigation from the beginning? I also do not understand my ex-wife and her refusal to cooperate in any way. I know myself, as Rachel`s father, have always let - - since this has happened, I`ve always let the authorities know. I`ve always kept my phone number listed.
Nobody can even find her, if something were to happen, if this case were to break. And I just do not understand her behavior during this whole thing. I was with -- I was, as I said, I was up there the weekend after Rachel disappeared, and I believe it was that Monday. I`m not sure of the date. It was right before I was supposed to fly back to Texas. I was in the house, and the police came over, and they had just administered polygraph tests to Vince and Amy, and they told Amy that she had passed her polygraph test then they told Vince that he had not passed his polygraph test.
And it was right after that that Vince told Amy, pulled her off to the side and told her, we are not cooperating with the police anymore. And it`s pretty much been that way since then. And I don`t understand that. So, yes, I have a lot of questions. And I wish we could get some answers. And I am very suspicious of Vince because as everybody said, everything points at his direction.
CASAREZ: And Vincent Mellon has not been charged. He has not even been designated a suspect. Do you think your ex-wife, Amy, who is still married to this person that she took out a restraining order on the 1993, which is another issue, do you think she would help cover something up?
SKEMP: I would sure hope not.
CASAREZ: Her own daughter, her own flesh and blood?
SKEMP: I would certainly hope not. To me, that -- I mean, all the pain that we`ve been through in the last 15 years, to know that she had the answers all along, it -- I just really, really couldn`t imagine that.
CASAREZ: What message, Jeff, do you want out tonight? Who do you want to talk to? Talk to them right now.
SKEMP: I just -- I just want some answers. There are so many unanswered questions by the person most in knowledge of what happened. And I really would just like some answers. I also want everybody to remember Rachel. She was a beautiful, bright, smart, bubbly, joyful girl, and she`s missed very dearly.
CASAREZ: We hope we can give you some answers to all of this. To Michelle Golland, psychologist, joining us tonight from Los Angeles, what kind of person stays with someone who physically abuses them, as per restraining order, the children witness it, and even it`s alleged that there is verbal abuse at the very least with her own daughter, Rachel? Who stays with that and continues to stay with that?
GOLLAND: Right. It`s a woman who is very co-dependent, a woman who sees the marriage and the relationship as primary even over the safety of her children. And I think, given even the diary entry, given the fact that there were knives, you know, that the children felt unsafe, also the fact that her daughter had run away in between that time, I believe, but she was a straight-A student, so you got to ask, what is she running away from?
CASAREZ: She ran away for 12 hours with a note saying she was scared she was going to be blamed for something. That`s why she ran away and came back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her step-father home that day taking care of Rachel says he left her taking a nap to walk the family dog. When Vince Mellon came home, he apparently never checks on Rachel, and it wasn`t until her sister returns later that day anyone realized Rachel was gone.
GRACE: These are the faces of America`s missing. Every 30 seconds, another child, a sister, a brother, a father, or mother disappears. Families left behind wondering and waiting. We have not forgotten.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Equilla Hodrick was last seen running after an ice cream truck near her home in New York City borough of the Bronx. At the time, Equilla had a gap between her front teeth, wore glasses and had a scar near her right eye.
Morgan Nick vanished in a split second while playing with other children at a baseball game in Alma, Arkansas. Her mother keeps hope alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I told her that she couldn`t. I thought it was too dark and too late and didn`t think it was a good idea. And, you know, she continued to plead with me to go catch lightning bugs, and finally, I told her that she could, and she threw her arms around my neck and gave me a big hug and kissed me on the cheek before she jumped down out of the bleachers with the other two children.
While she was playing with them during that 15 minutes, she sat down to take sand out of her shoes, and they walked away from her, and when they looked back, she was gone. Since six years old, Morgan didn`t like to run and play outside because it made her sweat, but she wanted, in the first grade, she wanted to sign up for track, and she had her first track practice at school. When she came home, she was so mad and she said, do you know what they make us do in track?
We had to go outside and run, and I was sweating. And she quit, and she joined girl scouts because she said they could stay inside and glue stuff. The last exchange that I had with Morgan was sitting in the bleachers at the baseball game, and she was asking me if she could go and catch lightning bugs. We just simply get up every morning and keep doing everything we know to do to find Morgan and bring her home.
Some days, it`s really too hard and it`s very overwhelming, but if we don`t keep fighting for Morgan, pretty soon, everyone else will forget. She was just bright and lively and funny and she was a little bit shy when she wasn`t around our family, but she was 6 years old. She had her whole life in front of her.
Larry Ardley was last seen in Tallahassee, Florida in 1998. He walks with a limp and has a scar under his left eyebrow.
GRACE: I`m Nancy Grace. See you tomorrow night, 9 o`clock sharp eastern, and until then, we will be looking. Keep the faith, friend.