Yard dug up in search for missing Collingdale, Pa. woman

June 25, 2013 3:38:11 PM PDT
Acting on a tip from a neighbor, police dug up a backyard in Collingdale, Delaware County in their search for 30-year-old Melissa Rodriguez.

The neighbor contacted police saying she thought she saw Rodriguez's husband, Jose, in the backyard of a home on the 400 block of Lafayette Avenue digging the night before Melissa was reported missing back in mid-April.

Collingdale Police and County Detectives went to the home Tuesday where they found a patch of yard that looked like it had been recently dug up. Police then brought in equipment to dig up the yard.

K9 units were also brought to the location to search the area for clues, however, nothing was found and the search was called off.

"We can confidently say at this point in the investigation Melissa's body is not anywhere on this property," Collingdale Police Chief Robert Adams said.

Melissa Rodriguez left her home on Lafayette Avenue on April 18th, telling a friend in Newark she was coming up for a visit. But she never arrived.

The following Monday her husband called the police to report her missing. He told investigators she didn't show up at school to pick up their 7 and 11-year-old daughters.

Police say the next day Rodriguez went to the school to try to get the girls transferred to a school in New Jersey. Rodriguez then disappeared, but later returned and took his truck and a boat to a home he's staying at in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

In late April investigators seized a white truck, which was assigned to Rodriguez by his employer, Amtrak.

"We want to check the truck," Collingdale Police Chief Robert Adams said. "Apparently he showed up at the house this weekend to get some things from the house, including the boat. We're not sure what truck he showed up with. This is a truck assigned to him. We want to do some investigations, maybe on the GPS."

NEIGHBOR DESCRIBES MARITAL TROUBLE

Neighbor Cathy Bauer told Action News that Melissa had confided in her that her husband recently moved out of the house after she learned he was allegedly having an affair with another woman.

"He had a woman that he just had a baby with and Melissa found this all out," Bauer said.

Bauer said she saw Rodriguez on Saturday and he told her Melissa had been found and was being interviewed by detectives.

"And then when I found out it was a lie, I even told the detective, 'I feel like a jerk.' Because I hugged him, and I was so happy he gave me such good news,'" Bauer said.

Action News has learned that police have been called to the Rodriguez home in the past for domestic disturbances. But, as of right now they are calling this a missing person case. No charges have been filed.

Anyone who knows Melissa Rodriguez's whereabouts is asked to contact police at (610) 586-0502.


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