Delaware County community holds vigil for woman missing 10 years
COLLINGDALE, Pa. - A Delaware County mom disappeared without a trace a decade ago. Her community gathered in the hope that after all this time, Melissa Ortiz-Rodriguez’s disappearance will be solved.
Her loved ones held a candlelight vigil where she lived 10 years ago in Collingdale. She was last seen April 19, 2013.
"Melissa and I were very close. I was one of her favorite uncles," said Edwin Ortiz.
Ortiz says his niece was a devoted mother to two young girls. "My niece loved her children and I know that she would never abandon her kids."
Police say her husband, Jose Rodriguez was the last to see her and made the missing person report. He eventually stopped cooperating with police.
The last development in her disappearance, FOX 29 has learned, was from more than a year ago, when an unrelated federal investigation launched against Melissa’s husband. Police say they obtained a search warrant for his work office in New Jersey and a couple items were taken into evidence.
"What would be helpful to the police department and the investigation 10 years later?" FOX 29’s Jennifer Lee asked.
"Anything. Somebody remembers something. Somebody saw something. Any piece of evidence can jumpstart the investigation and, you know, hopefully locate her," replied Collingdale Police Chief, Kenneth Felker.
Three years ago, Melissa’s mother, Olga, died of a heart attack, never getting closure on her daughter’s disappearance.
"The stress of her daughter missing, not knowing where she’s at, took her to her grave," Ortiz added.
Her neighbor, Cathy Bauer, is also waiting to learn what happened to Melissa. "I look out and see how fast, how they grew and she’s missing that long."
Bauer remembers their conversations on her back porch and now thinks about her every time she looks out her window. "I remember the day. Those trees over there. Two big trees in her yard. She planted them as two little stubs. So, look how fast they grew in 10 years."
Officials urge anyone with any information to contact Corporal Pat Crozier, with Collingdale Police, at 610-586-0502.